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Our Graduate Students

Our graduate students come from many places and pursue diverse research and career interests while at SIU.

In addition to our current Geography graduate students below, our faculty also advise PhD students in the interdisciplinary Environmental Resources and Policy Program.


Bibek Ban

Bibek Ban

Hometown: Rupandehi, Nepal

Undergraduate Institution: IOF, Tribhuvan University

Research Interests: Application of GIS and Remote Sensing in sustainable natural resource management, UASs based mapping and monitoring, global change

Adviser: Dr. Guangxing Wang

Future Career Plans: GIS/RS Analyst, Individual Researcher

What Attracted Me to SIU: Diverse research interest and expertise of faculty members along with departmental resources that has a lot to offer for students like me, friendly atmosphere among students and faculty members


Bryanna Blackburn

Bryanna Blackburn

Hometown: Downers Grove, IL

Undergraduate Institution: Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Research Interests: Environmental Sustainability and Environmental Education

Adviser: Dr. Leslie Duram

Future Career Plans: I would love to stay in education to teach environmental sustainability

What Attracted Me to SIU: The support that I received as an undergraduate student from the faculty in the Geography Department helped me realize that I wanted to further my education and pursue my master's degree at SIU.


Pearl Deku

Pearl Deku

Hometown: Adaklu Aboadi, Ghana

Undergraduate Institution: Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST)

Research Interests: Environmental management, GIS

Adviser: Dr. Leslie Duram

Future Career Plans: Environmental advocate, I would love to teach environmental sustainability and work with the UN.

What Attracted Me to SIU: My love for the environment got me interested in the program and a relative who was once a PhD student and Lecturer in the department recommended it as the best place to achieve my career plans.


Nick Erwin

Nick Erwin

Hometown: Belleville, IL

Undergraduate Institution: Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Research Interests: Environmental Education, Outdoor Recreation, and Sustainability

Adviser: Dr. Leslie Duram

Future Career Plans: I hope to work in recreation administration or environmental education. Specifically, developing and improving programs that build sustainability literacy in youth and adults, while promoting equitable solutions to environmental issues.

What Attracted Me to SIU: After undergrad, I spent 5 years in California working in outdoor education. I knew that SIU has great Geography and Recreation programs, a sustainably-minded community, and tons of outdoor places to explore!


Dylan Gibson

Dylan Gibson

Hometown: Carbondale, IL

Undergraduate Institution: Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Research Interests: I am interested in exploring how society can develop sustainably, by looking at how policy and socioeconomic systems can be improved to better serve humanity and the environment.

Advisor: Dr. Leslie Duram

Future Career Plans: I hope to have a career in the field of sustainability where I can use my skills in research, writing, and advocacy.

What Attracted Me to SIU: Carbondale has long been my home, SIU has a strong tradition of embracing sustainability, and the Geography program here is excellent.


Kemar Jones

Kemar Jones

Hometown: St. Philip, Bridgetown, Barbados.

Undergraduate Institution: Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Research Interests: Sustainability in Higher Education and Athletics. Wetland & Surface Mine Reclamation. 

Adviser: Dr. Leslie Duram

Future Career Plans: Surface Mine Land Reclamation. Urban Sustainability.

What Attracted Me to SIU: The knowledge and encouragement I received as an undergraduate student-athlete from members of the department reassured me that this was a program that could inspire and motivate me as I pursue my master’s degree.


Connie Kaniewski

Connie Kaniewski

Hometown: Gurnee, IL

Undergraduate Institution: Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Research Interests: Land atmosphere interactions with a focus on drought onset and severity

Adviser: Dr. Justin Schoof

Future Career Plans: As of now I would like to obtain a PhD and work in academia.

What Attracted Me to SIU: Southern Illinois is filled with amazing geological features and spectacular outdoor recreation.


Nimisha Karki

Nimisha Karki

Hometown: Kathmandu, Nepal

Undergraduate Institution: Kathmandu University, Nepal

Research Interests: Hydrology, Ecology and GIS

Adviser: Dr. Jonathan Remo

Future Career Plans: Possibly work in Water Resource Management or GIS

What Attracted Me to SIU: Support from the department and faculty, diverse research opportunities and friendly environment.


Christian Landry

Christian Landry

Hometown: Round Rock, TX

Undergraduate Institution: Texas A&M University

Research Interests: Extreme precipitation, precipitation climatology, climate change

Adviser: Dr. Justin Schoof

Future Career Plans: Climate research, PhD

What Attracted Me To SIU: The friendly atmosphere and the region of southern Illinois!


Jie Shi Liew

Jie Shi Liew

Hometown: Kuantan, Pahang, Malaysia

Undergraduate Institution: Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Research Interests: Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Adviser: Dr. Ruopu Li

Future Career Plans: Combining my mathematical skills with GIS to focus on improving planning/presentation in business-related fields

What Attracted Me to SIU: I love the beautiful nature all around the campus and I was attracted to the GIS program.The department provides a very friendly, helpful and encouraging learning environment.


Andrew Paxton

Andrew Paxton

Hometown: Erie, IL

Undergraduate Institution: Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Research Interests: Synoptic Climatology, Climate Modeling

Adviser: Dr. Justin Schoof

Future Career Plans: Research/Higher Ed

What Attracted Me to SIU: History of scientific research and great mentors.


Supria Sarkar

Supria Sarkar

Hometown: Pabna, Bangladesh

Undergraduate Institution: University of Dhaka

Research Interest: GIS, Spatial Data Science, Harmful Algae Blooms, Remote Sensing

Advisor: Dr. Ruopu Li

Future Career Plans: I woul dlike to work as an independent researcher in the application area of Geoscience focusing on the broader scope of natural resources, water pollution and urban environments.

What attracted me to SIU and our program: The broad research scope offered by GENV, and the sustainable beautiful environment within the SIU campus are the major reasons that I chose SIU.


Noah Scalero

Noah Scalero

Hometown: Evanston, IL

Undergraduate Institution: Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Research Interests: Watershed management, wetland nitrogen recycling, environmental planning

Adviser: Dr. Jonathan Remo

Future Career Plans: Undecided

What Attracted Me To SIU: The Geography Department at SIU is characterized by a community of faculty and students who are generous with the expertise and who foster a constructive educational environment.


Josie Taylor

Josie Taylor

Hometown: Grayslake, IL

Undergraduate Institution: Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Research Interests: Environmental Education, Conservation of Species

Adviser: Dr. Leslie Duram

Future Career Plans: I would love to work in an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) recognized zoo or aquarium as an environmental education staff member.

What Attracted Me to SIU: Originally the fact that SIU has a zoology program, which is what I studied during my undergraduate studies. I stayed for my masters due to the beautiful scenery at SIU as well as the research opportunities presented to me by the welcoming staff of the Geography and Environmental Resources Department.


Kiran Thapa

Kiran Thapa

Hometown: Palpa, Nepal

Undergraduate Institution: Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal

Research Interests: Geographic Information Science (GIS), Remote Sensing and Digital Image Processing, Spatial Analysis, Urban Planning

Adviser: Dr. Guangxing Wang

Future Career Plans: GIScience, Environmental Sustainability, Permafrost Mapping, Urban Planning

What Attracted Me to SIU: SIU is a well-known university and I was attracted to the research programs.