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Visiting Scholar

Wanting Peng. Wanting PengWanting is a visiting scholar in Landscape Architecture and Spatial Sciences at the Spatial Sciences Institute at the University of Southern California. She is a Ph.D student from the College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Tongji University. Wanting has more than five years of experience on protected area conservation planning and wetland restoration both in practice projects and research projects. Her work on “assessment wetland restoration effects of Yunqiao” supported by WWF was honored as a “FRONTRUNNER 5000: Top Articles In Outstanding S&T Journals Of China” in 2014. She also awarded National Academic Postgraduate Scholarship and Outstanding Postgraduate. Her current research interests are in national park conservation planning and ecosystem stewardship to balance conflicts between biodiversity conservation and communities’ socioeconomic development. Her work involves the species distribution, environmental modeling, carrying capacity, social-ecosystem services and sustainable livelihood. With Dr. Longcore’s collaboration, her doctoral research is using Geodesign as an effective approach to balance development and conservation to improve community planning and adaptive management in protected area of China: The case of Dashanbao National Park.

Ph.D. Students

Levi Simons. Levi is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Marine and Environmental vojoqeno
Biology. He is currently involved in three projects:

  1. Development of probiotic strains for use in shellfish aquaculture.
  2. Developing a metagenomic-based index of the quality of stream health.
  3. Studying the influence of light pollution on coastal ecosystems in southern California.

Before embarking on his current career of ecology and aquaculture research, Levi has also worked as a high school science teacher in the Los Angeles area. Over the years he and his students have been involved in projects ranging from the design of insect traps, to monitoring nuclear fallout from the Fukushima meltdown, and mapping the chemistry of the Los Angeles river. He currently lives with his wife in Koreatown and draws daily inspiration from watching his cats sleep while leaving for work.

XiaozheYinXiaozhe Yin. Xiaozhe is a Ph.D. student in the Population, Health and Place program at Spatial Sciences Institute. Her research background is Geographical Information Sciences, which mainly focused on GIS applications in disaster response. Her thesis titled “The Study of Site Selection for Earthquake Emergency Shelters in Cities” adopted various spatial analysis methods and GIS techniques to find the optimal locations for earthquake shelters in Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province, which won the Jiangsu Outstanding Master Thesis Award. Before attending to USC, she spent one year at the Institute of Geographic Science and Natural Resources Research with the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences studying the relationship between urbanization and carbon emissions in Beijing, China. Her research interests include examining GIS applications in environmental protection, how GIS can help to understand disease and its applications in epidemiological studies.

Now she is working with Dr.Travis Longcore to try to use GIS techniques and spatial analysis methods to explore the spatial and temporal patterns of light pollution, as well as how artificial light is associated with public health in general.

Undergraduate Students

Eliza Gutierrez-Dewar. elizaEliza is a senior from Menlo Park, California pursing a B.S. in GeoDesign, as well as a minor in architecture. She was initially drawn to GeoDesign due to its intersection of technology and design. Eliza enjoys the opportunity to apply creative thinking and problem solving to real-world issues such as city planning and climate change. She hopes to have a tangible impact in creating sustainable cities which incorporate nature and function at the human scale.  Eliza has experience developing a 3D visualization of the USC campus as a student researcher and as an intern at Esri where she focused on ArcGIS Pro’s new 3D visualization techniques. With Dr. Longcore, Eliza is mapping spatiotemporal trends in squid boat locations off the coast of California based on nighttime light detection to understand the impact of boat lights on the surrounding environment.

HJKnappHarrison Knapp. Harrison is a junior at the University of Southern California pursuing a B.S. in GeoDesign and a B.A. in Earth Sciences. Drawn to study climate science by the recent prevalence of hurricanes in his home state of Connecticut, Harrison’s interests lie in the use of GIS in natural hazard mitigation and environmental planning. Harrison is using nighttime upward radiance data from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP weather satellite to map light pollution across National Park Service sites. Using this information, he aims to categorize NPS sites by lighting profile for the development of future nightscape management plans.  In summer 2018, Harrison was a participant in the NASA DEVLOP program and produced this video on the research done by his team.

camilleCamille Verendia. Camille is a senior majoring in Environmental Science and Health with a minor in Marine Biology. She is interested in how artificial night light affects marine organisms. Her project is focusing on measuring the light intensities of a series of lights on the USC Wrigley Marine Science Center to assess how these lights may affect marine invertebrates located in the Wrigley cove. Additionally, she is interested in strategic selection and placement of light sources to benefit the wildlife around protected areas and to reduce light pollution, while still maintaining energy efficiency.

Kiana Kerr
Kiana Kerr. Kiana is a rising junior at USC. She is pursuing a B.S. in Environmental Studies with a minor in GIS and Sustainability Science. She has always been drawn to nature and realized that she wanted to choose a path that would allow her to protect it. Spatial Sciences caught her attention due to its versatility in terms of application as well as its significance to a variety of pressing issues. She is working on the Coast Light project because it deals with marine organisms in need of protecting and with light pollution, an emerging environmental issue with many facets.

CLevineCameron Levine. Cameron is a first-year student studying GeoDesign. He grew up in the East Bay Area and found his interest in spatial sciences while taking AP Human Geography. His other academic interests include public health and French. In his free time he enjoys watercoloring, swimming, cooking and reading.


Nina Mross
Shan Yu Chuan
Jasper McEvoy
Lisa Cortright
Benjamin Banet
Amanda Gilmore