Meet the Executive Committee
Susy Ziegler (President) is Head of the Department of Earth, Environmental, and Geographical Sciences at Northern Michigan University where she is an Associate Professor. She majored in Geography at Dartmouth College after discovering physical geography during her first term on campus. Susy earned her M.S. and Ph.D. in Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While in graduate school she became a charter member of the Theta Lambda Chapter of GTU. Since moving from Minnesota in 2010, Susy has been the faculty sponsor of Northern Michigan University's Eta Chi Chapter of GTU. She enjoys participating in events and taking field trips with the motivated GTU students who are eager to explore and learn outside the classroom. Susy promotes geography whenever possible by visiting elementary school classrooms and presenting at workshops for teachers. At NMU Susy teaches biogeography, introduction to geographic research, and environmental science. Her research and recreation interests are in the Northwoods.
Harry J. "Jimmy" Wilson (First Vice President) is Assistant Professor of Management and GIS in the Dicke College of Business Administration at Ohio Northern University (ONU). Jimmy's educational background includes a B.A. (Anthropology/Archaeology, Florida State University), an M.A. (Historical Archaeology, University of West Florida), and a Ph.D. (Historical Geography/GIS, Louisiana State University). Shortly after his arrival in 2007, Jimmy took steps to acquire a GTU charter at ONU, which was granted to the university in 2009. He is the faculty sponsor for this chapter. Jimmy's research interests are many and diverse, and extend into other disciplines such as marketing, anthropology, archaeology, history, criminal justice, biology and civil engineering. His teaching demonstrates the application of spatial analysis and GIS within these and other fields, and also the utility of civic engagement within geographic inquiry. He is often seen with his students and his two golden retrievers outside doing field research throughout northwest Ohio. Aside from his professional responsibilities, he is active in local government and is a member of several local service organizations.
Karen D Johnson-Webb (Second Vice President) is Associate Professor of Geography at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) in Bowling Green, OH. She earned her BA and MA in Geography at Michigan State University. She earned a Ph.D. in Geography at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. Dr. Johnson-Webb became a member of the Upsilon Chapter of GTU in 2006 when she helped to reactivate that chapter at BGSU. Dr. Johnson-Webb teaches a variety of courses in Human Geography, but the two of which she is most proud are Global Plagues and Pestilence and the Geography of Health and Climate Change. Her research interests are focused on the intersections of structural racism and black infant mortality in Ohio. Dr. Johnson-Webb has been faculty sponsor of the Upsilon Chapter since 2006 and was most recently GTU East Lakes Regional Councilor.
Michael Longan (Immediate Past President) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and Meteorology at Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana. He currently serves as the faculty sponsor for the Alpha Xi chapter. Mike attended the University of Colorado at Boulder where he earned a B.A. in geography. He earned is MA degree in geography at the University of Arizona and returned to the University of Colorado where he completed a Ph.D. in 2000. Prior to teaching at VU he taught for two years at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota. His interests are centered in the geography of Internet communication and the media. He teaches a broad range of courses in cultural, urban, and rural geography. He has published research on the Community Networking Movement, the representation of places online, the geography of video games, and the geography of social networks. He is currently working on a project about rural identity and country music.
James Lowry (Executive Secretary) is Associate Professor of Geography and Chair of Faculty of Society and Change (anthropology, communications, geography, religious studies, and sociology) at Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville, GA. He was inducted into the Beta Iota chapter at East Carolina University in 1986 while working on his MA. Subsequently he was president of the Zeta Upsilon chapter at the University of Arizona in the late 1980s while completing his Ph.D. In 1996 James reactivated the Alpha Pi Chapter at East Central University where he served as faculty advisor until 2002. Dr. Lowry also served as Southwest Regional Councilor from 1998 until 2007. In 2002 James moved to Stephen F. Austin State University where he served as faculty sponsor for the Kappa Gamma Chapter. In 2006 he joined the University of New Orleans faculty where he reactivated the Zeta Lambda Chapter. Then, in 2015 he chartered the Nu Alpha chapter at Georgia Gwinnett College. James was elected GTU 2nd Vice President in 2007 and in 2008 became GTU's Executive Secretary. James was awarded a NASA Summer Faculty Fellowship in the summers of 1997, 1998, and 1999 at the Global Hydrology and Climate Center at NASA's George C. Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL. He was awarded the East Central University Teaching Excellence Award in 1999-2000, and was the East Central Honor Council Faculty Member of the Month for January of 2000. In October 2012 James was awarded the Gamma Theta Upsilon Distinguished Service Award and in April of 2017 the Georgia Gwinnett College Top Claw Award. For the 2017-2018 academic year James served as a GGC Center for Teaching Excellence Scholar. Most importantly, James is an animal lover and lives with his very sweet beagle Ruthie.
Michal L. LeVasseur (Comptroller) did her undergraduate and graduate work in anthropology, geography, and science education as preparation for a teaching and administrative career in geography, earth science, and science education at the university level. Having recently retired as Executive Director of the National Council for Geographic Education, Michal now works with the National Geographic Society as a liaison to ten state geography alliances. Gamma Theta Upsilon has been part of Michal’s life since her initiation into the Kappa Kappa Chapter at the University of South Florida (USF) in 1971. Upon joining the geography faculty at USF, she served as Kappa Kappa Chapter advisor. Dr. LeVasseur has served GTU as 2nd Vice President, 1st Vice President, President, and Past President. Michal’s passion is travel -- anywhere, anytime. Tibet and Inner Mongolia are special places for Michal. She describes Tibet in the early 1980s as being like another planet with a universal language that is not spoken but understood. She recalls a young women and two young men on a pilgrimage to the Potala taking her hand and including her with only a few soft-spoken words. Her trip through Inner Mongolia on horseback was magical, combining her love of horses, open spaces, and new cultures.
Dawn Drake (Historian) is an assistant professor in the Department of History and Geography at Missouri Western State University in Saint Joseph, Missouri. She received a PhD in geography from the University of Tennessee in May 2011. Her research interests include economic geography, industrial location, and precision agriculture. Her dissertation research examined the geographic manifestations of the business literature using a case study of the US farm machinery industry. Her research has most recently been funded by the Canadian Embassy. Dawn also serves as Secretary/Treasurer of the Rural Geography Specialty Group of the AAG and is a member of the World Geography Bowl Committee for both the AAG and the Southeastern Division of the AAG. In her spare time, Dawn likes to collect and restore antique tractors. Dawn served on the GTU Executive Committee as Student Representative from 2002-2004 and 2006-2011. She was originally initiated into GTU through the Gamma Omega Alpha Chapter at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2000, where she served as both Vice-President and President. Dawn also was instrumental in establishing the Lambda Sigma Chapter at the University of Delaware in 2006 and is one of its eight charter members. Dawn looks forward to working with the records of GTU to best serve the institutional memory of the organization.
Randy Bertolas (Outreach Coordinator) is Professor of Geography and Chair of the Department of History, Politics, and Geography at Wayne State College in northeast Nebraska. He was born and raised in the perpetually frozen North Woods just south of International Falls, Minnesota. Dr. Bertolas attended the University of Minnesota-Duluth and was studying geography in his dorm room in 1975 on the night the Edmund Fitzgerald sank in Lake Superior. Subsequently, he earned a Masterís degree in geography from the University of Vermont and a PhD in geography from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Dr. Bertolas chartered the Lambda Zeta GTU chapter at Wayne State College in 2002 and later served the GTU Executive Committee as International President in 2011-2012. He currently serves as Coordinator of the Geographic Educators of Nebraska, a grassroots Alliance affiliated with the National Geographic Society and composed of Nebraska K-12 teachers dedicated to improving the quality of geography education at all academic levels.
Howard Johnson (Development Coordinator) currently holds the title of Emeritus Professor of Geography at Jacksonville State University. He earned his bachelors and masters degrees from Valparaiso University and his PhD from Michigan State. After teaching several years at the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh, he moved to Jacksonville, Alabama where he taught for thirty-four years and served as department head for thirty of them. He has served GTU as chapter advisor, regional representative, 2nd and 1st vice-president, president and past president. Howard originated the idea of including GTU undergraduate papers sessions at regional AAG conferences with the first one at a SEDAAG meeting.
His love of travel has taken him around the world and meshes nicely with his interest in photography. The global tapestry of cultures and landscapes never ceases to amaze him. His acquisition of a geographic perspective at Valparaiso has been a blessing throughout his life, although it might not have been so apparent at the time.
Casey D. Allen (Editor, The Geographical Bulletin) Though well-regarded in the fields of geomorphology (the "Science of Scenery"), rock/cultural stone decay, humanistic geography, and geographic education, Case's passion rests in helping people explore and discover landscapes as Traditional and Romantic Geographers. A first-generation college student and award-winning teacher-scholar with broad interests, his experience outside academia includes being a cook, stagehand, video game technician, naturalist (at a Nature Center), stock boy, survey engineer for a mining exploration company in Latin America, general farm work, and various retail positions (among other exciting gigs). Since turning his focus to academia, he has been a professional academic advisor, created and supervised several successful academic and support programs, served as a National Science Foundation Fellow, Fulbright Scholar to Jordan, and held faculty positions at several universities – including earning tenure at the University of Colorado where he was founding sponsor of the Mu Lambda GTU chapter. Somewhat well-traveled, Case also holds interests and expertise in landscape/geoarchaeology & rock art, biological soil crusts, sustainability, and regional studies. Currently, he serves as Lecturer in Environmental/Earth Science for the Faculty of Science and Technology at The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Barbados (yes, the Caribbean!). On a personal note, he enjoys a cold & frothy root beer, desserts, the outdoors, movies, lean and meaty steaks, basketball, good Theatre, playing in the dirt, the color gray, hot chocolate, music and the Arts, softball, nutmeg, True Love, volleyball, sci-fi/fantasy, roaming in the rain, and the Oxford Comma. For more, see his website (caseallen.com) or follow him on Twitter (@caseallen).
Our Regional Councilors
Dr. Patrick May (New England/St. Lawrence Valley Regional Councilor) is associate professor in the Social Science Department at Plymouth State University (PSU) in New Hampshire. He teaches courses across the fields of human geography and has specific background in urban and historical geography. Patrick is committed to the continued integration of geography within the K-12 social studies curriculum and served as the coordinator of the PSU social studies education program from 2000-2012, building a wonderful network of social studies colleagues and alumni throughout the state. Patrick takes particular pride in his role as faculty adviser, working to integrate students' academic interests with their career goals through extra-curricular activities, study abroad, internships, and other experiences. As the co-adviser to the PSU Geography Club, he has happily taken students to regional and national conferences each year. Patrick is an Ohio native, taught college in Baltimore for 10 years prior to PSU, and lives for the experiences gained through travel, both domestic and international.
Dr. Ryan Weichelt (West Lakes Regional Councilor) is Associate Professor of Geography at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire (UWEC). He earned a BS from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, a MAG from Texas State University, and a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). He served as a former GTU President while a student at UWEC and at the UNL. He has been the faculty adviser of the Delta Tau Chapter at UWEC since 2011. Ryan has also been active promoting geography in the community aiding the school district in redistricting elementary school boundaries and as an annual judge for Wisconsin's State Geography Bee. Current research has been focused on electoral geography of Wisconsin, redistricting and gerrymandering, and understanding the impacts of second home ownership in northern Wisconsin. Ryan is an avid tennis player, runner, and biker. Precious time is spent with his wife and fellow geographer and GTU member, Katie, their two children, Graham and Effie, as well as their two cats.
Mark D. Bjelland, Ph.D. (East Lakes Regional Councilor) is Professor and Chair of the Department of Geology, Geography, and Environmental Studies at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was the faculty adviser at the founding of the Lambda Iota chapter of GTU at Gustavus Adolphus College and the Nu Alpha chapter at Calvin College. He started his education and career in civil engineering (B.C.E. University of Minnesota, M.S.C.E. University of Washington), but his work drew him into the worlds of urban planning and environmental justice. He went on to earn a Ph.D. in geography at the University of Minnesota, focusing on the intersection of urban geography and environmental sustainability. He is a co-author of Introduction to Geography and Human Geography: Landscapes of Human Activities. He regularly takes students into the field including courses to Great Britain, Hawaii, the Pacific Northwest, and Great Lakes cities. His passions are family, travel, Nordic skiing, canoe trips, and biking.
Nancy Hoalst Pullen (Southeastern/Middle Atlantic Regional Councilor) is Professor of Geography and the Geographic Information Science (GIS) Director at Kennesaw State University (KSU). During the glorious decade of the 1990s, Nancy was initiated into the Alpha Xi Chapter at Valparaiso University, and later graduated from there with a BA in Geography and a BS in Biology. Nearly a decade later, she received a PhD in Geography from University of Colorado at Boulder. While her teaching is commonly limited to either physical geography and GIS courses, her research is multifaceted and ever-changing - ranging from soil hydrology in tropical areas to application of GIS in built environments to the (global) geography of beer. Currently, she is writing a very special Atlas for National Geographic. Nancy served as the charter Faculty Advisor for the Mu Upsilon Chapter at KSU. When she can, she travels, gardens, enjoys classic family moments, ponders the existence of time, and tries to be quasi-crafty.
Falguni Mukherjee (Southwest Regional Councilor)is an Associate professor and the GIS Graduate program coordinator in the Department of Geography and Geology at Sam Houston State University. Her research focusses on critical GIS, organizational implementation and management of GIS, South Asia and qualitative research methods. In her research, she utilizes an integrated framework that combines critical GIS theory and urban geography to examine the process of GIS spatial knowledge construction and the social, political, and institutional contexts that shape this process.
H. Jason Combs (Great Plains-Rocky Mountain Regional Councilor) is a professor of geography at the University of Nebraska–Kearney. He has written a number of articles appearing in refereed journals such as Great Plains Quarterly, Great Plains Research, Material Culture, Journal of Cultural Geography, and The Professional Geographer. Dr. Combs has co-authored two books, one a Civil War book published by Ohio University Press titled Do They Miss Me at Home? (2010) and the other titled Pioneer Life on Glass: The Balcom-Green Collection (2017) published by the Center for Great Plains Studies at Emporia State University.
Tim Hawkins (Middle States Regional Councilor) is a professor in the department of Geography and Earth Science and former adviser to the Omicron chapter at Shippensburg University. He earned his undergraduate degree in geography from Colgate University and his graduate degrees in geography from Arizona State University. His teaching and research interests include hydroclimatology, urban climatology, and weather and climate in general. He especially enjoys advising undergraduate and graduate student research projects. Some of the results from these projects have been published in The Geographical Bulletin. In his free time Tim enjoys traveling with his family, hiking, running, skiing, playing soccer, and reading.
Jessie Clark (Pacific Coast Regional Councilor) is an Assistant Professor in the Geography Department at the University of Nevada Reno. After receiving her PhD in Geography from the University of Arizona in 2012, Jessie returned to her alma matter, the University of Oregon, and worked for two years as the undergraduate program coordinator, instructor, and advisor. While there, she served as the faculty sponsor for the Theta Kappa chapter. Research-wise, Jessie looks at questions at the intersections of political geography, gender, and development. Specifically, Jessie works with collaborators in the Kurdish Southeast Turkey region to understand the role that women play in political conflict and nation-building processes. She teaches courses on political and cultural geography. Jessie's call to geography also regularly leads her to the mountains of the high desert and Pacific Northwest for hiking and backpacking. And, she is an avid runner and blue-grass stomper.