Project Specialists

ninanNina Noujdina.  Nina holds masters degrees in Materials Science from the Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys and in Geography from the University of California, Davis.  She has over 10 years of experience working as a geospatial analyst.  Her current projects include mapping vegetation, environmental niche modeling for species distribution, collecting environmental data, and analyzing spatial patterns of agricultural cultivation under pressure of climate change. Previously, she worked as a GIS Project Specialist at the USC Spatial Sciences Institute, where she was involved in diverse projects that focused on natural, urban, and social domains, and ranged from local to global scale (Google Scholar Publications).

Beau MacDonaldmacdonaldweb-120x120Beau MacDonald is a GIS Project Specialist for the Spatial Sciences Institute at the University of Southern California. She is an applied biogeographer experienced with GIS, cartography, design, and environmental modeling, who provides data analysis, geoprocessing, mapping, graphics, and writing support, and promotes the use of geographical information science concepts and technologies for interdisciplinary synthesis. Her research interests involve the distribution, abundance, resilience, historical ecology, conservation, and sustainability of diverse creatures and communities that persist along the edges and within the confines of built environments – including butterflies, birds, native plants, wetlands, vegetable gardens, and Angelenos (Google Scholar Profile).

Visiting Scholar

微信图片_20171031053319 (2)Wanting Peng. Wanting 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.


banetBenjamin Banet. Ben is pursuing a personalized interdisciplinary major at USC (Class of 2018) that focuses on the measurement of light pollution in conservation biology. Ben has six years of experience as an astrophotographer and is an accomplished backcountry hiker. He is one of the student coordinators of USC Professors and Peaks club and holds a Trustee’s Fellowship, the highest academic honor that can be bestowed on an incoming student. He was co-author of a research project on light in national parks that was presented at and won two awards at the 2016 USC Undergraduate Research Symposium.

Eliza Gutierrez-Dewar. elizaEliza is a junior 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 sophomore 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

camilleCamille Verendia. Camille is a junior 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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAmanda Gilmore. Amanda is a senior from New York City pursuing a B.S. in GeoDesign. She was drawn to the GeoDesign program because of its interdisciplinary approach to urban problems such as food deserts, transportation and urban ecology. She is also interested in the use of GIS in mitigating risk to natural hazards. She hopes to eventually pursue a Masters degree focused on the integration of green space into urban contexts. Amanda is currently conducting predictive habitat modelling of invasive lionfish on the Atlantic Coast using point data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as bathymetry data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). She is also working with Spatial Sciences Institute professor Dr. An-Min Wu on the spatial modelling of soil carbon content in the depressional landscapes of Minnesota.


Nina Mross
Shan Yu Chuan
Jasper McEvoy
Lisa Cortright