UT Geography Students, Faculty Win National Awards

KNOXVILLE — Two students and a faculty member from the University of Tennessee Geography Department have earned three of the most prestigious academic prizes in their field.

Dr. Xiaohong Xin

Dr. Xiaohong Xin of Lanzhou, China, a fall 2002 UT doctoral graduate, won the 2003 Outstanding Dissertation in Transportation Geography; Andrew Wunderlich, a graduate student from Knoxville, won the National Geographic Society’s Cartographic Internship; and Dr. Sally Horn, UT geography professor, is the Carl O. Sauer Distinguished Scholarship awardee.

The Association of American Geographers honored Xin, who combined data modeling and software design to develop data analysis tools for studying land use and transportation interactions over space and time.

Xin came to UT through the university’s cooperative agreement with China’s Lanzhou University.

Her work, supervised by Dr. Shih-Lung Shaw, a UT geography professor, was funded by the Florida Department of Transportation. She has accepted a position at the Joint Laboratory for Geographic Information Science at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Andrew Wunderlich

“Xin’s work is in the hot field in geography,” Dr. Bruce Ralston, professor and head of geography, said. “Her dissertation is cutting edge in terms of development of geographic information science.”

Ralston said this is the second time in three years that a UT student has received this award. Dr. Agatino LaRosa won it in 2001.

Wunderlich’s internship is one of the most competitive student awards presented by the National Geographic Society, which is renowned for producing high quality maps and graphics.

This fall, he will serve as the society’s only student intern in cartography.

The internship program has built a reputation for “ensuring that students have an exciting as well as top-flight professional learning experience,” Ralston said.

Dr. Sally Horn

“Andrew’s work for the Cartographic Services Center of the Department of Geography helped him present a strong portfolio to the society’s selection committee,” Ralston said.

Horn’s award, named for the late, notable cultural geographer who taught more than 30 years at the University of California Berkeley, was presented from the Conference of Latin American Geographers.

The honor recognizes her extensive field research on the theme of human and environmental history in Latin America.

Horn is a biogeographer who uses plant and fossil records to study past climate change and fire history.

“The Sauer award is for career achievement recognizing a large body of work,” Ralston said. “The fact that Dr. Horn won it at a relatively young age is amazing. It reflects her sustained level of excellence and international reputation.

“All three awards show we are doing a good job for our students.”