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Our professors have diverse research interests within the areas of environmental processes and change, urban planning and transportation, human-environment interactions and geographic information science. 

From Denver, we are able to study the local and regional effects of climate change on our water supply, the destructive impact of the mountain pine beetle and the planning and development of our transit systems. Zooming out, we seek to make a global impact with projects that increase understanding of environmental change, migration and geopolitics and the impact of these factors on communities in Africa and Central America.

Learn more about our faculty's current research interests with details about their studies.

Current Research Projects

Lab Facilities

  • Remote-Sensing Research

    Lab technology includes state-of-the-art image-processing software including ERDAS Imagine, ENVI and ESRI GIS software. We also house an Analytical Spectral Devices FieldSpec portable sprectroradiometer to collect solar spectral reflectance, radiance, and irradiance measurements across a wide spectral range. 

  • Geographic Positioning System (GPS)

    This lab is dedicated to housing an extensive GIS equipment collection. It is also home to the Community Base Station, providing 24-7 location data for differential correction along the Front Range and beyond. 

  • Instructional Labs

    The department has two smart-to-the-seat and front instructional labs, 14-seat and 20-seat.  The department also has a smart-to-the-front, 24-seat laptop lab.  All installed with latest software in geography technology.

  • Pollen Analysis

    Specilaizing in pollen analysis of sediment cores.

  • Soils and Sediment Analysis

    This USDA-approved laboratory performs particle size distribution, organic matter content, CaCO3 percentage, bulk density, pH/eH, and soil-color anlaysis using laser-diffraction particle size analyzer, sonic sifter, Ro-tap sieve shaker, muffle furnace, drying ovens, incubator, centrifuges, pH/eH meter, spectrophotomoter and balances.

Gaining Insight through Graduate Studies

Our graduate students play leading roles in hands-on research that has the potential to empower citizens worldwide with knowledge and understanding of land, data and human-environment interactions. 

Our strong graduate program ushers junior investigators into professional academia with an emphasis on field experience and conference attendance.

Recent Student Awards

Each year we hand out awards to both graduate and undergraduate students who have demonstrated excellence in their scholastic endeavors.

2018 Herold Fund Award Recipients

Created in 2010, this fund honors the memory of Professor Laurance C. Herold, a faculty member in the Geography Department from 1963 through 1996, who led many student field research expeditions, notably to study prehistoric agricultural terraces in the Sierra Madre Occidental of Chihuahua and Sonora, Mexico. The Laurance C. Herold Fund supports field research by graduate and undergraduate students as part of their degree programs in the Department of Geography & the Environment.

Shannon Jones, PhD program, “Hydrology and Sedimentology of Coastal Catchments in Nicaraguan Seasonal Dry Forests”

Danielle Langworthy, PhD program, “Continuity and Change in Nicaragua: Perpetuating Land Insecurity through Tourism-Based Land-Grabbing”

Corey Martz, PhD program, “Urban Natural Places: Bringing Together Dominant and Alternative Natural Narratives”

Kelly Measom, MA program, “Informing Studies with Historical GIS: A Case Study Using Historical Maps to Characterize Century-Scale Land Use Change in the Czech Republic”

Anna Sveinsdóttir, PhD program, “Environmental Governance, Extractive Industries and Conflict: The Struggle for Environmental Justice in Guatemala”

Jessica Villena Sánchez, PhD program, "Preliminary Fieldwork for Qualitative Study of the Mobility of Older Adults in Mexico City"


Dr. Robert D. Rudd Memorial Award

In recognition of graduate scholarship, research and/or exceptional departmental service in geography

Madeline Kelley
Natalie Trivino
Daniel Zimny-Schmitt


Dr. Thomas M. Griffiths Memorial Award

In recognition of undergraduate scholarship and independent research in geography

Rachel Pierstorff


Alan Bryce Henry Memorial Scholarship

Awarded to undergraduate students who have demonstrated outstanding scholarship in environmental science

Josie Valette


Environmental Science Program Award

In recognition of undergraduate scholarship and independent research in environmental science

Sage Bard-Gilbert