Congratulations to Dr. Timothy Hawthorne, our founding research director, for being named a 2019 University of Central Florida Reach for the Stars Awardee.  The Reach for the Stars Award is the highest research distinction junior faculty can achieve at UCF. According to UCF Faculty Excellence, “The UCF Reach for the Stars Award honors and rewards highly successful research and creative activity accomplished by early-career university professionals.”

Dr. Hawthorne is a public scholar broadly trained in human geography with expertise in Geographic Information Systems, critical GIS, Participatory GIS, mixed methods, STEM education, Belize and citizen science.  

Hawthorne sharing Belize drone imagery on the viz wall.

Dr. Hawthorne’s work as a public scholar at America’s Partnership University supports the UCF Collective Impact Plan by creating undergraduate and graduate research opportunities through over $4 million in NSF grants and high-impact publications in top journals like the Annals of the American Association of Geographers; crafting an international research agenda with work in Belize; fostering diverse research teams (his NSF REU Sites have over 70% participation from underrepresented populations); and engaging multiple community partners in his research and teaching.

Dr. Hawthorne notes that this research distinction is a direct result of partnership and collaboration with everyday, extraordinary citizens that live in the communities of Central Florida and Belize, and because of the tenacity and dedication of the students he works with.

Hawthorne co-leading a drone training session in Belize for NGO and government partners

“This award to me celebrates the power of public scholarship and the possibilities of what can happen when science and society work together. We’re stronger together, and I am delighted that UCF recognizes the value of public scholarship. UCF is the ideal place to do this type of work, and I look forward to what the future holds for Citizen Science GIS at this incredible university,” said Hawthorne.

This award builds from the international recognition of the Citizen Science GIS research team led by Hawthorne. The group was one of four higher education groups worldwide to receive the 2017 Esri Special Achievement in GIS Award for their novel public scholarship with maps, apps and drones.

Congratulations, Dr. Hawthorne!

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