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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.


Sourav Bhadra

Sourav Bhadra

Hometown: Rajbari, Bangladesh

Undergraduate Institution: Khulna University of Engineering and Technology

Research Interests: GIS, Spatial Data Science, Hydrology

Adviser: Dr. Ruopu Li

Future Career Plans: I would like to work as an independent researcher in the application area of GIScience focusing on the broader scope of natural resources, hydrology, and urban environments

What Attracted Me to SIU: The broad research scope offered by GENV, and the sustainable environment within the SIU campus are the major reasons that I chose 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.


Dylan Gibson

Dylan Gibson

Hometown: Carbondale, IL

Undergraduate Institution: Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Research Interest: 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.


Tara Gracer

Tara Gracer

Hometown: Varazdin, Croatia

Undergraduate Institution: Illinois Wesleyan University

Research Interests: Sustainability, hydrology, ecology

Adviser: Dr. Jonathan Remo

Future Career Plans: Physical Scientist, Land Surveyor, Environmental Consultant

What Attracted Me to SIU: The professor of the Geography Department at SIU attracted me with their research interests and passion for environmental science.


Mark Healy

Mark Healy

Hometown: Carmi, Illinois

Undergraduate Institution: Southern Illinois University - Carbondale

Research Interests: Interdisciplinary spatial applications in sustainability science

Adviser: Dr. Silvia Secchi

Future Career Plans: Undecided, possibly PhD

What Attracted Me to SIU: Excellent Faculty in the SIU GENV Department.


Kemar Jones

Kemar Jones

Hometown: St. Philip, Bridgetown, Barbados.

Undergraduate Institution: SIUC

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.


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!


David Leifer

David Leifer

Hometown: LaCrosse, WI

Undergraduate Institution: University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire 

Research Interests: Data Mining, GIS, Spatial Statistics, Software Development

Adviser: Dr. Ruopu Li

Future Career Plans: GIS Data Science or GIS software development

What Attracted Me to SIU: The professors here really seem to care about their advisees.


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.


Kelsey Lyons

Kelsey Lyons

Hometown: Bloomington, IL

Undergraduate Institution: University of Illinois

Research Interests: Interactions between climate and severe weather, severe weather preparedness

Adviser: Dr. Justin Schoof

Future Career Plans: Something in emergency preparedness or education

What Attracted Me to SIU: Friendly atmosphere and a great natural environment!


Shishir Manandhar

Shishir Manandhar

Hometown: Kathmandu, Nepal

Undergraduate Institution: Kathmandu University 

Research Interest: Applications of GIS, Optical and Microwave Remote Sensing in Environmental Studies,Land Subsidence, Surficial Change Detection, Cryology

Advisor: Dr. Guangxing Wang

Career Plans: Environmental Geospatial Analyst

What attracted me to SIU and our program: My interests aligned with those of the faculty.


Deepak Parajuli

Deepak Parajuli

Hometown: Kathmandu, Nepal

Undergraduate University: Kathmandu University

Research Interests: Climate change, hydrology and water resources, GIS and remote sensing

Adviser: Dr. Jonathan Remo

Future Career Plans: Climate Change, Eco-Hydrology, GIS

What Attracted Me to SIU: Outstanding and supportive faculty, interdisciplinary research


Noah Scalero

Noah Scalero

Hometown: Evanston, IL

Undergraduate Institution: SIU 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.


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 r


Chi Fai Wong (Alex)

Chi Fai Wong

Hometown: Hong Kong, China

Undergraduate Institution: Western Kentucky University (WKU)

Research Interests: Extreme temperature (heat wave), Climate and weather forecasting models, Interaction between vegetation properties and extreme temperature

Adviser: Dr. Trent W. Ford

Future Career Plans: A Scientific Officer at the Hong Kong Observatory

What Attracted Me to SIU: My primary interest in Southern Illinois University stems from Professor Ford’s Heat Wave research, “North American Heat Wave Predictability: Assessing the Role of Land Surface Initialization on S2S and NMME Model Forecasts”.


Jefferson Wright

Jefferson Wright

Hometown: Cobden, IL

Undergraduate Institution: Southern Illinois University Carbondale 

Research Interests: Climate Science, Natural Hazards, Statistics, GIS

Adviser: Dr. Trent Ford

Future Career Plans: GIS/Data Analytics, possible with some teaching

What Attracted Me to SIU: Southern Illinois has always been my home and, as an undergraduate, I saw that GENV faculty were extremely knowledgeable and passionate about their work.This made the decision to pursue a Master’s degree at SIU very easy.