Student Research

Eric Anderson
Eric is a Graduate Research Assistant in the Earth System Science program who works under SERVIR Project Director Dan Irwin of NASA-Marshall Space Flight Center.  Eric’s research interests include natural disasters, GIS and remote sensing, and science in decision making.  His master’s research is on the integration of satellite-based, modeled and in situ data for improved landslide hazard monitoring in El Salvador.  He also enjoys teaching and is actively involved in the Earth Science Student Association (ESSA).

Tiffany Keeton
I am studying how maize yield responds to changes in soil moisture during a drought in Jalisco, Mexico. My research is to determine at what soil moisture level does maize yields start to decrease.  I moved to Huntsville from South Carolina for my undergraduate degree in Earth System Science at UAH. I am currently pursuing my masters degree in Earth System Science. My interests lay in using my knowledge in GIS and remote sensing technologies to benefit others and better the environment.

Melanie Phillips
Originally from East Tennessee, I moved to Huntsville in 2007 to begin my undergraduate degree.  Originally a physics major, I made the switch to earth system science in 2009 and received a B.S. from UAHuntsville in May 2011.  I am currently working on a master’s degree in earth system science with a focus in GIS and human dimensions. Upon completion, I plan to pursue a career in GIS and remote sensing with an organization focusing on sustainable development and policy implementation. I am working with NASA’s SERVIR to complete my thesis work which involves using GIS and remote sensing technology to determine the environmental and economic effects of reforestation over areas in southern India.  Atmospheric numerical modeling will also be used to produce long-term environmental prediction models.  This model will function as a template for future reforestation analyses.  Once results have been made, this information will be given to both NGO’s and governmental organizations to update and improve environmental policy and education.

Claire Herdy
Claire Herdy is a graduate student in the Earth System Science (ESS) program at UAHuntsville.  Her research focuses on understanding the components of the environment that are most productive and sustainable and is passionate about educating her community about sustainability and food security. As an undergraduate in the ESS program she gathered research experience in the UAH sponsored study abroad program in Panama.  She now applies the sustainable ideas learned in the classroom managing the UAHuntsville Community Garden, which provides a space for education and discussion around the environmental, social and economic aspects of sustainability.  She also uses the skills taught in the MS program to lead undergraduates in a NASA sponsored internship held on UAHuntsville campus, spreading the use of geospatial technologies and benefits of NASA EOS data.    Additionally her work with SERVIR, regional visualization and monitoring network, helps disseminate the decision making skills and data society and the environment and developing countries internationally.

Casey Calamaio
My interests have always revolved environmental and planetary sciences. I originally came to UAH in 2008 as an aerospace engineering student and later found the perfect niche in the Earth System Science department with the GIS/Remote Sensing specialty track. Through academic programs and research partnerships at UAH, I have traveled to Panamá three times conducting real-world research studying the natural history of the Panama Canal Zone and measuring deforestation over time with historical photographs and satellite images. I will return to Panamá a fourth time in conjunction with a three-month research fellowship through the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute investigating an invasive species of grass. UAH also now partners with the University Of Rostock in Rostock, Germany where, at the time of writing this, I am spearheading the student exchange program. In addition to experiencing the German culture and exploring central and northern Europe, I have been able to continue my studies in remote sensing and GIS with Rostock professors. I have also been given the opportunity to learn about and participate in the research of unmanned aerial systems and photogrammetry, which since starting in the remote sensing track has become a personal interest of mine. The UAV systems used in Germany are used extensively in precision farming capable of gathering real-time data quickly and accurately providing me an excellent introduction to this technology. It has also been beneficial as a student to learn a skill I am comfortably proficient in, such as GIS and image processing, in a foreign language and picking up the scientific speech of German that I had not learned in language courses.

Zac Mahafza
I have conducted some research into the creation of a disaster scale to better help coordinate responses to varying natural disasters and to provide a historical and scientific basis on which they can be compared.

Africa Flores
Africa Flores is a Graduate Research Assistant native from Guatemala who is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Earth Systems Science in UAHuntsville.  She works under the SERVIR project and her advisor is SERVIR Director, Dan Irwin from NASA-Marshall Space Flight Center.  Her research interests include applications of remote sensing and GIS for environmental monitoring, disaster management, and climate change adaptation. Her master’s research focuses on the implementation of hyperspectral remote sensing for water quality analyses.


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