Janna Chapman, a rising senior and dual degree student in Geographical Sciences and Environmental Science and Technology, has received a $10,000 United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) Evona Scholarship for Diversity in STEM for the 2022-23 academic year. The highly competitive scholarship, awarded to only one student each year, aims to support an undergrad from a diverse gender and racial background pursuing a geospatial, data science, or space-focused degree.
“Earning this scholarship solidifies the strength of my knowledge and competence in the geospatial field,” said Chapman, who is interested in using GIS to investigate the spatial patterns and inequalities associated with various climate change-induced effects. “Knowing that top people in the industry feel that I am worthy of this scholarship makes me feel that I will be able to succeed in the future.”
The scholarship announcement capped the end of a busy summer for Chapman—a recently named Philip Merrill Presidential Scholar—who worked as a research assistant with GEOG Assistant Professor Taylor Oshan through the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources’ Summer Opportunities for Agricultural Research and the Environment (SOARE) NSF REU program. Chapman used GIS to determine the correlations between accessibility to green spaces and selected demographic groups in New York City.
“Urban green spaces provide many benefits but are often unequally accessible in cities,” explained Chapman. “The maps produced by this research can be used to establish if urban green spaces are unequally distributed, and if they are, where the best locations are to increase urban green spaces and accessibility.”
In addition to her summer REU, Chapman has quite a bit of research experience under her belt. As a freshman and sophomore, she participated in the Sustainability Analytics stream of the First-Year Innovation and Research Experience (FIRE) program and as a junior she interned with World Resources Institute’s (WRI) Global Forest Watch where she managed training data collection for machine learning algorithms that were used to classify drivers of deforestation.
Following the completion of her bachelor’s degrees next spring, Chapman plans to continue working with Oshan as she pursues her M.S. in geographical sciences as a combined B.S./M.S. student. After that, she hopes to work as a geospatial analyst at an environmental organization such as the EPA or WRI, and ultimately, pursue a Ph.D. in the geographical sciences.
“I love the geographical sciences and hope for more people who look like me to feel included in this field,” said Chapman.