Graduate Students

Current Graduate Students

Melisa Argañaraz, PhD Student


Advisor: Dr. Dena Aufseeser

Education History:
B.S, Sociology, University of Granada
M.Sc, Urban Sociology, University of Amsterdam

Research Interests: Children’s geographies, feminist theory, urban governance and politics of space, critical ethnography, qualitative GIS, contemporary processes of immigration and social/spatial justice

Jaime Barrett, PhD Student


Conowingo, MD

Advisor: David Lansing

Education History: B.S., Conservation Biology, SUNY-College of Environmental Science and Forestry
M.A., Human Geography, University of Delaware

Research Interests: Agriculture, Regulation, Antimicrobial resistance, Biopolitics, Political ecology, Conservation, Water quality

My primary research interest is farmer response to changing regulation. I will combine my previous work on mandatory nutrient management with current work on the Veterinary Feed Directive to assess if farmer acceptance of regulatory requirements varies based on what is being regulated.

Peter George Chirico, PhD Candidate


Hometown: Vienna, VA

Advisor: Dr. Andrew J. Miller

Education History:
B.A., Geography, Mary Washington College
M.A., Geography, University of South Carolina

Research Interests: Geomorphologic mapping, remote sensing, artisanal and small-scale mining, placer deposits, conflict diamonds

My research interests combine the use of geomorphological mapping, remote sensing, and field surveys as techniques for investigating and assessing small-scale placer diamond deposits in headwater streams and wetlands of central and western Africa. The work has direct implications for natural resource management, development, and in preventing the trade in conflict minerals and “blood diamonds.”

Selected Publications:
Malpeli, K.C., and Chirico, P.G., 2014, A sub-national scale geospatial analysis of diamond deposit lootability—The case of the Central African Republic: The Extractive Industries and Society, v. 1, no. 2, p. 249-259. (Available online at:

Chirico, P.G., and Malpeli, K.C., 2014, The role of conflict minerals, artisanal mining, and informal trading networks in African intrastate and regional conflicts: Small Wars Journal, v. 10, no. 9., 13 p. (Available online at:

Chirico, P.G., and DeWitt, J.D., 2017, Mapping informal small-scale mining features in a data-sparse tropical environment with a small UAS: Journal of Unmanned Vehicle Systems, v.5, no. 3, p 69- 91. (Available online at:

DeWitt, J.D., Chirico, P.G., Bergstresser, S.E., and Warner, T.A., 2017, Multi-scale 46-year remote sensing change detection of diamond mining and land cover in a conflict and post-conflict setting: Remote Sensing Applications: Society and Environment, v. 8, p. 126-139. (Available online at:

Peter Revere Claggett, PhD Student


Hometown:  Stevensville, MD

Advisor: Dr. Matthew E. Baker

Education History:
B.A., Environmental Sciences, University of California, Berkeley
M.A., Geography, Miami University (Ohio)
M.En., Environmental Sciences, Miami University (Ohio)

Research Interests: Hydrologic impacts of impervious surface patterns, Monitoring, understanding, and modeling regional land use/cover change, Assessing the impacts of land use/cover change on water quality, quantity, and wildlife habitats

The hydrologic impacts of roads, rooftops, parking lots, and other impervious surfaces have been well documented.  By preventing rainfall from infiltrating into the ground, impervious surfaces reduce groundwater recharge and increase the rate and volume of surface runoff.  This phenomenon can increase stream discharge resulting in accelerated erosion of stream banks and transport of sediment.  However, not all streams respond similarly to increases in impervious surfaces nor do all impervious surfaces contribute equally to changes in stream flow.  Watershed dimensions, slope, lithology, soils, channel and floodplain configuration, and other factors affect local hydrologic responses to land use/cover change.  Variations in stormwater management and the hydrologic connectivity of impervious surfaces via storm drain networks or proximity further affect the relationship between impervious surfaces and stream flow.  I plan to explore this more nuanced relationship in the Chesapeake Bay watershed to inform both stormwater management and land use planning decisions.

Selected Publications:
Claggett, P. R., Irani, F. M., and R.L. Thompson, 2013. Estimating the Extent of Impervious Surfaces and Turf Grass across Large Regions. Journal of the American Water Resources Association, Vol. 49(5): 1752-1688 (

Sohl, T.L., and Claggett, P.R., 2013, Clarity versus complexity: Land-use modeling as a practical tool for decision-makers.  Journal of Environmental Management 129: 235-243

Claggett, P.R, and Thompson, R.L. eds., 2012, Proceedings of the workshop on alternative futures- Accounting for growth in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2012–1216, 29 p., [].

Claggett, P.R., Okay, J.A., and S.V. Stehman, 2010. Monitoring Regional Ripairan Forest Cover Change Using Stratified Sampling and Mulitresolution Imagery. Journal of the American Water Resources Association, Vol. 46(2): 334-343.

Irani, Fred, M., and Claggett, Peter, R., 2010, Chesapeake Bay Watershed Land Cover Change Data Series:  U.S. Geological Data Series 505.

Jantz, C.A., S.J. Goetz, D.I. Donato, and P.R. Claggett, 2010. Designing and Implementing a Regional Urban Modeling System Using the SLEUTH Cellular Urban Model. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, Vol. 34(1): 1-16.

Claggett, P.R., Jantz, C.A., Goetz, S.J., and Bisland, Carin, 2004, Assessing Development Pressure in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed – An Evaluation of Two Land-use Change Models.  Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, Vol. 94(1-3): 129-146.


Ben Daniels, PhD Student

River Edge, NJ

Dr. Alan Yeakley

Education History:
B.S., Physics, The College of New Jersey
M.S., Geology, Boston College

Research interests:
Urban hydrology, hydrologic impacts of climate change, watershed restoration, urban resilience and sustainability, natural hazards, global change

Rob D’Amato, Masters student


Advisor: Dr. Chris Hawn

Education: B.A., History, Fordham University

Interests: Toxic contamination, Citizen Science, Human Geography, Philosophy of Science, Metabolic Rift Theory

Gina Lee, PhD Student


Hometown: Marin County, CA

Advisor: Dr. Andrew Miller

Education History:
B.S., Geology, University of California, Davis
M.S., Applied Geosciences, San Francisco State University

Research Interests: Fluvial Geomorphology, Hydrology, Stream Restoration, Urban Flooding, Remote Sensing

I am interested in studying the effects that urban infrastructure and development has on the hydrology of a watershed, and how land use changes can exacerbate flooding in urban streams. I am interested also in the best management practices to mitigate excess runoff and designing successful stream restoration projects in urban watersheds.

McLindenMatt McLinden, Ph.D. Student


Hometown: Worcester, MA

Education History:
B.S. Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Massachusetts
M.S. Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Massachusetts

Advisor:  Dr. Jeffrey Halverson

Research Interests: Radar Meteorology, Active and Passive Microwave Remote Sensing from Airborne and Spaceborne platforms.

I am a research engineer at the NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center where I focus on radar and microwave radiometery. I enjoy the interesting threshold between the engineering and atmospheric science aspects of remote sensing.

Selected Publications:
McLinden, M. L., E. J. Wollack, G. M. Heymsfield, L. Li, “Reduced Image Aliasing with Microwave Radiometers and Weather Radar through Windowed Spatial Aver- aging,” IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, publication pending, 10.1109/TGRS.2015.2445100.

Li, L., G. M. Heymsfield, J. Carswell, D. Schaubert, M. L. McLinden, J. Creticos, M. Perrine, M. Coon, J. Cervantes, M. Vega, S. Guimond, L. Tian, A. Emory, “The NASA High-altitude Imaging Wind and Rain Airborne Profiler (HIWRAP),” IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, publication pending.

McLinden, M. L., J. Carswell, L. Li, G. Heymsfield, A. Emory, J. Cervantes, L. Tian, “Utilizing versatile transmission waveforms to mitigate pulse compression range sidelobes with the HIWRAP radar,” IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters, 2013, 10.1109/GSRS.2013.2241729.

Heymsfield, G. M., L. Tian, L. Li, M. McLinden, J. Cervantes, “Airborne Radar Observations of Severe Hail Storms: Implications for Future Spaceborne Radar,” J. of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 2013, JAMC-D-12-0144.1.

Ohad Paris, PhD Student


Advisor: Colin Studds

Education History:
B.S., Biology, University of Florida
M.S., Biology, College of William and Mary

Research interests: Avian ecology

Selected Publications:
Paris, O. J., Swaddle, J. P., & Cristol, D. A. (2018). Exposure to Dietary Methyl-Mercury Solely during Embryonic and Juvenile Development Halves Subsequent Reproductive Success in Adult Zebra Finches. Environmental Science & Technology, 52(5), 3117–3124.


John-Henry Pitas, PhD Candidate

Email:, @johnhenrypitas,

Hometown: Falls Church, Virginia

Advisor: Dr. Dawn Biehler

Education History:
M.S., Geography and Environmental Systems, UMBC
B.A., Environmental Studies, Geography and Environmental Systems, UMBC
A.S., Teacher Education, Northern Virginia Community College

Research interests: Political ecology, critical geography, urban geography, environmental and social justice, waste and pollution


Karyn Tabor, PhD Student

Advisor: Dr. Margaret Holland

Education History:
M.A., Environmental Science Boston University

Research Interests: Remote Sensing, Early Warning Systems, Ecosystem Monitoring, Conservation, Sustainable Development

Selected Publications:
Tabor, K., K. Jones, J. Hewson, A. Rasolohery, A. Rambeloson, T. Andrianjohaninarivo, and C. Harvey (2017). Evaluating the Effectiveness of Conservation Investments in Reducing Deforestation and Fires in Ankeniheny-Zahemena Corridor, Madagascar. PlosOne

Rose, R.A., D. Byler, J.R. Eastman, E. Fleishman, G. Geller, S. Goetz, L. Guide, H. Hamilton, M. Hansen, R. Headley, J. Hewson, N. Horning, B.A. Kaplin, N. LaPorte, A. Leidner, P. Leimgruber, J. Morisette, J. Musinsky, L. Pintea, A. Prados, V.C. Radeloff, M. Rowen, S. Saatchi, S. Schill, K. Tabor, W. Turner, A. Vodacek, J. Vogelmann, M. Wegman, D. Wilkie, C. Wilson, 2014. Ten ways remote sensing can contribute to conservation. Conservation Biology DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12397

Steininger, M.K., K. Tabor, J. Small, C. Pinto, J. Soliz, E. Echeverria, 2013. A satellite model of forest flammability. Environmental Management 52(1):136-150.

Tabor, K., N. Burgess, B. Mbilinyi, J. Kashaigili, M.K. Steininger, 2010. Forest and woodland cover and change in coastal Tanzania and Kenya, circa 1990 to circa 2000. The Journal of East African Natural History 99(1):19-45.

Tabor, K. and J.W. Williams, 2010. Globally downscaled climate projections for assessing the conservation impacts of climate change. Ecological Applications 20(2):554-565.

Laura Torres, Ms Student


Homecounty: Colombia, Bogotá D.C

Advisor: Dena Aufseeser and Yolanda Valencia

Education History: B.S., Social Sciences University La Gran Colombia (Bogotá-Colombia) Academic Specialization in Culture, Education and Politics, National University. UNAD. (Bogotá-Colombia)

Research Interests:
Gender studies, women’s migration flows, violence in Latin America, community development and urban planning.