If you are an undergraduate student or graduate student at a Montana college or university in 2020, and are doing a geospatially-related project or research, you are eligible to receive up to $3,000 in funding sponsored by the Montana Association of Geographic Information Professionals (MAGIP). Successful applicants will also be granted a complementary Big Sky GeoCon registration and $150 in travel funds*.
Four (4) scholarships totally $3,000 were awarded to undergraduate or first-year graduate students studying GIS at a Montana college or university through the MAGIP Higher Education GIS Scholarship
Seth Mangini, PhD student
Department of Earth Sciences, Montana State University
“Southwestern Wetlands: Erosion, Geomorphology, and Implications for Restoration”
Sasha Loewen, PhD student
Land Resources and Environmental Sciences, Montana State University
“Data driven adaptive management of organic dryland cropping systems”
Zachary Miller, MS student
Department of Earth Sciences, Montana State University
“Mapping Snow Depth Variability in Complex Mountain Terrain Using UAS and SfM Photogrammetry”
Lochlin Ermatinger, Bachelor degree student
Land Resources and Environmental Sciences, Montana State University
“Developing Spatial Tools and Methods for Integrated Pest Management of the Wheat Stem Sawfly (Cephus cinctus) in Montana’s Golden Triangle”
*Travel stipends are awarded to applicants traveling 100 or more miles to attend Big Sky GeoCon
Additionally, the University of Montana and Montana State University offer scholarships based on endowment funds that MAGIP contributed to:
Four (4) scholarships totally $4,000 thanks in part to a $1,000 contribution from RedCastle Resources to undergraduate or first-year graduate students studying GIS at a Montana college or university through the MAGIP Higher Education GIS Scholarship
Jesse Bunker, of Montana Tech Jesse is doing pioneering work with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and sensor technology. In his research he is developing methods for detecting and measuring groundwater discharge in the Yellowstone River in southwestern Montana.
Ryan Rock, University of Montana Ryan is doing innovative remote sensing-based forest inventory and modeling work in collaboration with the Montana Department of Natural Resources, primarily focused on the Stillwater State Forest.
Holly Nesbitt and Anna Crockett, University of Montana Holly and Anna are both working on highly relevant water quantity and also water distribution models. Each of their projects have unique qualities, but together they represent a body of work that will advance the state of traditional water management but also has the capacity to help people understand and the challenges of moving around and sharing water resources. We have awarded them each Higher Education Scholarships, and have asked them to frame their work in a manner that can be applied in a K-12 setting. After all, water management is as much a social practice as a scientific one. Bringing this kind of thinking to classrooms will help students adapt STEM principles and potentially help future leaders understand the social and environmental implications of sound water management. Their work will take place in the Upper Clark Fork Watershed, and will engage with local schools and perhaps Montana Tech in Butte.
Two (2) $1,500 scholarships to undergraduate or first-year graduate students studying GIS at a Montana college or university through the MAGIP Higher Education GIS Scholarship
Joe Offer, University of Montana Joe has an interest in wildlife and land conservation. To address his research goals, Joe is studying if a cohesive, large landscape conservation strategy can be initiated by helping to coordinate the activities of non-profit organizations that grant conservation easements. The particular focus of his work is to assess the potential for providing habitat connectivity for grizzly bears in the Northern Continental Divide and Greater Yellowstone ecosystems.
John Sykes, Montana State University John Sykes is an MS student of the Earth Science Department at Montana State University. John intends to use GPS tracking and psychographic surveys to analyze decision-making of lift access backcountry skiers in the Bridger Mountains outside of Bozeman, MT.
Morgan Voss, The University of Montana Morgan Voss is a MS Candidate in the Department of Geography at The University of Montana. She is working with scientists at Glacier National Park and will be using remote sensing techniques to segment imagery and automate the mapping of avalanche chutes in the park. Along with the mapping she will be conducting field surveys to document geomorphologic and ecologic processes in the mapped chutes. We have allocated $750 for her. 2018 Project Update
Jonathan Byers, The University of Montana Jonathan Byers is a MS Candidate in the Geography Department at The University of Montana. He is conducting an unmanned aircraft systems remote sensing project where he will be attempting to assess snow water equivalent at various sites in the Bitterroot Mountains in western Montana. The intention is of the project is to better quantify snowpack and thus enhance inputs for hydrologic modeling. We have allocated $750 for him.
Andrew Nemecek, The University of Montana Andrew Nemecek is a first year MS student in the Department of Geography at The University of Montana. Using a combination of remote sensing and GIS he has proposed to investigate changes in irrigation practices in the upper Clark Fork River basin of western Montana. The significance of this project relates to the differences in return flow and ground water recharge that occur when irrigation systems are converted from gravity to sprinkler systems. We have allocated $500 for him. 2018 Project Update
Sierra Curtis, The University of Montana Sierra is currently a senior at Bigfork High School and will attend The University of Montana this fall. She is already an experienced geospatial technology user and recently presented some of her work at the 2016 MAGIP Conference. She will use the scholarship funds to support the development of a comprehensive story map chronicling the state of human trafficking around the world.
Philip Williams, The University of Montana Philip Williams will be a first year graduate student in The National Center for Landscape Fire Analysis, at the University of Montana. At the Center, he will be working with a team of scientists that are learning to apply autonomous aerial systems to forestry and wildland fire situations. In that work, they will be merging GIS-enabled data models with cloud-based radiometric processing algorithms to ensure timely delivery of fuel models from airborne sensors.
Chris Bilbrey, Montana State University Chris Bilbrey is a graduate student working on a Master of Science degree at Montana State University, in the Department of Earth Science. Chris will be using a suite of geospatial tools to develop new field measurement techniques for quantifying the spatial variability of snowpack and how that relates to snowpack stability.
Jeremiah SunderRaj, The University of Montana Jeremiah SunderRaj is an undergraduate student at The University of Montana, were he is a dedicated and passionate young spatial ecologist. Jeremiah and one of his professors just completed a preliminary analysis of wolf watching spatial data this semester, and it was so productive and such an interesting avenue, that he will be working with Yellowstone National Park next year as a full-year independent study to further refine a system for managing wildlife viewing and vehicle traffic.
Michael Frothingham, Montana State University Michael Frothingham is also a first year graduate student in the Department of Earth Sciences at Montana State University. He will be developing a modeling routines that all the integration of field data and digital spatial data to better understand the relationships between geologic units. Along with that, he is also proposing digital cartographic methods to streamline geologic map production.
Holt Hancock , Montana State University Holt Hancock is a first year graduate student in the earth science department at Montana State University and is the 2015 recipient of the MAGIP Higher Education scholarship. In his project, titled “Snow Drift and Avalanche Hazard in the High-Arctic Maritime Snow Climate of Svalbard, Norway” Holt will have the opportunity to work a team of international, world-class arctic scientists and develop a time-series GIS model of snow redistribution by wind. The goal of producing this model is to initiate a plan for passive snow mitigation strategies for a transportation corridor in Norway. Results of his work will be highly applicable to Montana and our relationship with snow related transportation hazards.
Nathaniel Robinson, University of Montana Nathanial is a PhD student in the College of Forestry and Conservation at the University of Montana, and he will receive a scholarship of $1,000 towards his project titled “An Analysis of Changing Rangeland Dynamics in Kenya”. Nathaniel will be working closely with Kenyan community-wildlife conservancies in the Masai and Samuru regions and with the Nature Conservancy to address pressing wildlife conservation needs that incorporate historic land use practices of nomadic pastoralists who contributed to creating and maintaining productive habitat for centuries. His work will not only help develop new applications for GIS and remote sensing in conservation and resource management, but also be immediately used by Kenyans to conserve wildlife populations, maintain habitat quality, and retain seasonal migration routes, while addressing the livelihood needs and interests of resident pastoralists.
Sarah Benjaram, Montana State University Sarah is a first year graduate student in the earth science department at Montana State University and she will receive $500 towards her project titled “Morphologic and Climatic Controls on Soil Weathering in a Glaciated and Unglaciated Landscpe”. Soils are a critical resource for proper ecosystem functioning, and in her work she will try to quantify the impact of physical and chemical factors that control soil formation in glaciated and unglaciated mountain ranges. The Bitterroot and Sapphire mountain ranges of western Montana share a similar lithology but have been shaped by very different processes. She will take advantage of raster processing and remote sensing to quantify various elements of her study area, and ultimately make inferences about soil formation and fertility. Her work has direct implications for resource managers because upland soil erosion and its effects on streams may impair water quality in mountainous systems and are specifically recognized as environmental threats in her study area. Sarah will share her findings with the public by working with geology classes at Bitterroot College in Hamilton, MT and also lead an erosion dynamics workshop for girls in 6th through 8th grade through a Montana State Extended University program.
Garin Wally, University of Montana Garin is a graduate geography student at the University of Montana and will receive $250 towards a project he calls “Open River Map: Mapping Water Hazards with Twitter”. In this project Garin is proposing to take advantage of social media and associated “big data” to facilitate citizen science and in real-time track river hazards in an infrastructure independent manner. He plans to build an application that collects tweets from volunteer fishermen who record the locations and types of hazards with their twitter accounts. His application will collect the tweet information and convert it into spatial data and produce a simple map of the reported hazards. The script within the application will be run once daily and appended to the running log of hazard locations. While this may be a simple concept we are excited about the interaction between social media and geospatial processing in this project.
Jon McFarland, Montana State University Jon is a freshman at Montana State University with a passion for watershed and fisheries management. Although Jon has barely completed his first year of college he has already lined up a volunteer-based internship with the Raincoast Conservation Foundation in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. As part of his work with Raincoast, Jon will be working on two distinct projects related to salmon and historic impacts to their habitat and abundance. Both projects are designed to inform and guide current salmon initiatives in habitat restoration of the Fraser River estuary and salmon rebuilding objectives. Both require GIS skills and product development. On the historic abundance reconstruction, the maps he will help develop will visually illustrate and describe the spatial and temporal issues involved in historic run reconstruction. In the second project, and primary initiative, GIS is the principle tool of the project. To assist Jon he will receive $250 towards his internship.
Mitchel Lee Fyock, University of Montana Mitchel Lee Fyock will utilize and assess two geomorphological mapping systems developed in Europe for use in high mountain environments in the United States