New undergraduate research experience sponsored by the National Science Foundation

We are very pleased to announce a new $374,480 grant from the National Science Foundation to the University of Central Florida.  Beginning this summer we will host the NSF REU Site: Preparing the Next Generation of Scholars through Community Geographic Information Systems and Citizen Science in Orlando and Belize.

The Community Geography and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) REU Site in Belize hosted by the University of Central Florida will: 1) engage 24 students over three years in community-based international fieldwork focused on community geography, GIS, and citizen science to examine social and environmental disparities related to marine debris and flooding/disaster management in Belize and 2) disseminate a new conceptual and methodological framework for international community geography and GIS research by connecting theory with praxis.  Students will work collaboratively with a diverse group of international partners, including researchers at University of Central Florida, Georgia State University, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History’s Caribbean Coral Reef Ecosystems Program, and University of Belize.

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Student mastery of geospatial STEM research skills will be accomplished largely through students creating an open and freely available geospatial data infrastructure to address social and environmental disparities related to marine debris and flooding/disaster management in Belize. This objective will include the creation of an online, interactive geospatial data and mapping portal through ArcGIS Online, a service providing template-based web mapping applications.  The Belize REU Site will provide free and open access to various research datasets, metadata, and geospatial training modules.  The geospatial infrastructure created by students will also include: quantitative datasets, qualitative data, GPS field data, geographic analyses, and maps/reports of findings.  Students will also co-lead GIS training and community-based fieldwork with Belizean residents and collaborators.

The project is led by PI: Dr. Timothy L. Hawthorne, Assistant Professor of Geographic Information Systems, UCF Department of Sociology and Co-Lead of the UCF GIS Cluster Initiative and Co-PI: Dr. Christy C. Visaggi, Lecturer of Geosciences, Georgia State University Department of Geosciences.

Please consider joining us for this exciting first in international community geography, GIS, and citizen science research training for undergraduates!/

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