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Center's new leaders continue mission as resource for science-based decision making

Jan. 7, 2016 – Valerie Thomas, associate professor of forest remote sensing, and Yang Shao, assistant professor of geography, were named the new co-directors of the Center for Environmental Applications of Remote Sensing in Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.

The center was started 19 years ago by Randolph Wynne, professor of forest remote sensing, and James Campbell, professor of geography. “We needed an interdisciplinary approach to address grand challenges in Earth and environmental science,” Wynne said.

“The center supported, encouraged, formalized, and achieved recognition for things that were already going on,” Campbell explained. “There was a NASA effort to launch research programs that crossed disciplines.”

It was named a NASA center of excellence in applications of remote sensing to regional and global integrated environmental assessments. “We were able to purchase hardware, create a laboratory, and improve the software for remote sensing and analysis — making it quicker and better,” Campbell said. “We were already collaborating on instruction, but the center helped bring students together. We connected with other departments and planted seeds for more robust research activity.”

After almost two decades at the helm, Wynne and Campbell welcomed the transition to new leadership for the center.  (continue reading.....)

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