Roger Tomlinson Prize for Excellence in GIS

This prize is awarded to one undergraduate student and one graduate student in the College of Arts of Sciences each year. The prize is given to students who demonstrate:

  • Academic excellence in GIS-related classes
  • Demonstrated professional interest in GIS through community service, internships, employment, and other activities
  • Creative application of geospatial technologies for research, instruction, community service, and other applications 


Undergraduate Prize: Kayla Edmonds (BS Environmental Science/Spatial Studies Minor, 2024)

Kayla Edmonds has gone out of her way to take GIS classes on campus, including 'Environmental Justice', several other spatial classes in EVST, the SPA 110 and SPA 210 sequence, and remote sensing. She also chose to take a design studio with Dan Klooster and Nate Strout and traveled to Panama to do 'GIS in the Jungle.' Kayla went to Panama for the GIS experience more than the tropicality, and it takes dedication to GIS to make a choice like that! She has also worked as an intern with the Center for Spatial Studies for 2.5 years. In that role, she has played an important role in creating and testing curriculum materials for the Intro and Advanced GIS classes, Panamapping classes, and many more. She's also been through several iterations of testing and updates to the Understanding GIS Workbook published by David Smith and Nate Strout and used by professionals and GIS classes around the world! Kayla also recently became involved with maintaining the University's Campus GIS; helping to migrate data and maps from our traditional on-premise system to a cloud-based system. This system is a critical piece of digital infrastructure used by Facilities Management, Public Safety, Campus Events, and even the Registrar and Provost's office! She is a dedicated student and practitioner of GIS and plans to pursue a career where she can put those skills to use.

Graduate Prize: Yvonne Morales (MSGIS, '24)

Yvonne Morales came to Redlands after completing their BS in Geography and a BA in Economics at the University of New Mexico in 2022.  In their personal statement for admission, they wrote that they were “a passionate advocate for applied methods of geographic research.”  Their work currently involves creating maps for the Albuquerque Public School district. They make a variety of maps based on demographics and managing the Indoors program which models facility floor plans for planning, spatial optimization, and security management. They plan to develop the program further by creating a digital twin for facility management or emergency/security management.


Undergraduate Prize: Hannah Jugar (EVSS, '23)

Hannah Jugar is a hard-working student and a clear leader who contributes to discussions, asks good questions, and helps make things more fun and engaging with her interest and enthusiasm. Hannah has taken on many research projects, including using remote sensing, field GIS, and habitat mensuration to study wildlife and vegetation succession at the Bearpaw Reserve after the 2020 El Dorado Fire. For that project, she rendered maps of locations of wildlife species over time and used NDVI data to show what the vegetation looked like before the fire that swept the area and how it has regenerated since the fire. In her spare time, Hannah has helped promote the university's SURF Garden via an Esri StoryMap, worked with Accelerated Neighborhood Climate Action (ANCA) to encourage climate action in the city of Redlands, served as Vice President of the Students for Environmental Action (SEA) club, played on the golf team, mapped indoor plants in campus buildings, and worked on a Wildlife Connectivity Project with Caltrans, U.S. Forest Service, and UC Davis.

Graduate Prize: Marisol Carranza (MSGIS, '23)

Marisol demonstrates unwavering dedication to both her academic and professional careers, managing both avenues with diligence and care. Despite her packed schedule and the occasional stress that comes with it, she consistently delivers exceptional results and eagerly tackles new projects. Her outstanding academic performance is exemplified by the fact that she boasts an almost perfect GPA. In addition to her individual accomplishments, Marisol is a team player who is always willing to lend a helping hand to those in need. Her tireless work ethic and positive attitude do not go unnoticed, and it is with great pleasure that we recognize Marisol as the deserving recipient of the Roger Tomlinson Graduate Award for Excellence in GIS for the year 2023.


Undergraduate Prize: Andrew Sheble (EVSS, '22)

Andrew Sheble,  an Environmental Science student, has worked as a Research Assistant for Dr. Valerie Rountree for the past three semesters. “It was clear in the first courses Andrew took with me his freshman year, that he is a diligent student with a very high capacity for understanding a broad range of environmental topics, from those in social sciences to life sciences, and for navigating technical tools to explore these issues in deep and meaningful ways”.

His work on the research project turned into his Honors Capstone Research Study in which he is examining a possible correlation between carbon emissions and turfgrass maintenance in Los Angeles. Andrew has collected hundreds of images of Los Angeles County, southern California, and Redlands to practice and develop a method for accurately measuring “turf” (managed grass landscape). This has required that he not only figure out how to work with maps available in ArcGIS Pro but develop a mechanism to isolate particular colors; additionally, he has used random sampling as needed to estimate green space and differentiate tree cover and other vegetation from turf. “Andrew is reliable, inquisitive, and exceedingly capable. Moreover, he is a mature and calm presence, and a joy to work with.”

Graduate Prize: James Cabrera (MSGIS, '22)

James Cabrera received his B.S. in Environmental Sciences from the University of California, Riverside.  While at UCR he was an active member of the environmental science club.  He volunteered his time supporting a project dedicated to creating a web map honoring veterans interred at the nearby Riverside National Cemetery, Along the Chaparral: Memorializing the Enshrined.  He also served as lab assistant for the UC Riverside Extension campus GIS Summer Academy, helping students learn and refine their geographical skills.  After obtaining his B.S. in environmental science, James began work in the ecological restoration realm.  His job experiences led him to work in locations such as Grand Canyon National Park and San Clemente Island located off the coast of California.  His work focused on preserving environmentally sensitive areas of the world from human encroachment.  Equipped with his new GIS knowledge and experience, James is looking forward to the next step in his career and has an eye on top companies in the geographic information system world.


Undergraduate Prize: Mackenzie Nelson (Johnston, '21)

Mackenzie Nelson, a Johnston student, has committed herself to deepening her use of GIS as she constructed an emphasis on Human Relationships with the Environment. Mackenzie's excellent GIS skills and professional interest in GIS expanded through an internship working on a digital humanities mapping project called 'Mapping a People's History of the Inland Empire'. This project focuses on mapping historic census data from the early 20th century in the Inland Empire so that data can be used to analyze patterns of segregation, homeownership, and settlement in our region. Her GIS-intensive capstone, 'Spatial Analysis of Racially Inequitable Air Quality in Southern California' is related to that project. It focused on “Exposure to poor air quality has been documented to exacerbate and even cause respiratory conditions that place strain upon the body. However, the impacts of poor air quality are not evenly distributed between racial, ethnic, nor socioeconomic demographics . It is necessary that environmental and public health issues, such as this, be analyzed with an intersectional lens, looking at race, socioeconomic  demographics, industry trends, policies and regulations, and local geography and topography as well as environmental factors.”

Graduate Prize: Aubrianna Kinghorn (MSGIS, '21)

Aubrianna Kinghorn received her B.S. in Geography with an emphasis in GIS from Brigham Young University where she served as vice-President of the Geography club and a teaching assistant to help promote geographical awareness and spatial curiosity across campus. After graduation, Aubri joined ArcGIS Pro Layout team at Esri. She designs, tests, and documents new functionality for ArcGIS Pro Layouts. Aubri also works with GIS users across the world and in a variety of industries to help them understand how quality map layouts can tell stories in a better way. At the University of Redlands, Aubri is working on her Master’s project that focuses on the map legend design to support more comprehensive and useful legend creation tools in GIS software. In her ArcGIS blog, Aubri says “I love good cartography, good burritos, and helping people figure out effective ways to share their data with others.”


Undergraduate Prize: Claire Napier (EVST, '20)

Claire demonstrated academic excellence in GIS-related classes, including Introduction to GIS and Spatial Analysis, Advanced GIS, Environmental Hydrology, Oceanography, and Biodiversity. She demonstrated outstanding performance in PanaMapping: Geodesign to Conserve the Rainforest, making exemplary use of GIS for mapping and comparing the erosion vulnerability of different catchments and contributing positively to group dynamics and final presentations. Demonstrating professional interest in GIS through community service, internships, employment, and other activities, Claire conducted summer research in 2019 with Hillary Jenkins, doing GIS as part of her analysis of forest recovery response to fires of varying intensity. She moved that project forward with a GIS-intensive capstone that is a creative application of geospatial technologies for research.

Graduate Prize: Ty Hranac (MGIS, '20)

Ty earned his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Occidental College in 2018. His economics training has been put to good use in GIS modeling and database design. While at Redlands, Ty worked with scientists at Joshua Tree National Park to map the transition zone between the Sonoran and Mojave Desert ecosystems. Ty has been a leader in team projects and study groups. He brings a keen, inquisitive mind to all aspects of spatial communication and geographic analysis. Ty is looking forward to finding an internship opportunity to complete his Master of Geographic Information Systems degree over the summer. 


Undergraduate Prize: Veronica Creed (EVST ’19)

Veronica, an environmental studies student with minors in Spatial Studies and Mathematics, won the undergraduate Roger Tomlinson Prize for Excellence in GIS for activities including co-founding the community mapping club, collaborating with faculty members, and interning at the Center for Spatial Studies.

Graduate Prize: Jonah Lay (MGIS, '19)

Jonah was awarded the graduate Roger Tomlinson Prize for Excellence in GIS for spatial research conducted with Chemistry Professor Rebecca Lyons on “Evaluating the Presence of the Endocrine Disruptor 4-Nonylphenol in California Glaciers”. “The presence of 4-nonylphenol (4NP) in pesticides used in agriculture has led to its accumulation in California glaciers through onshore wind deposition. As an endocrine disruptor, 4NP poses a threat to human health because it can interrupt and alter physiological processes such as human development and metabolism, and lead to ovarian and prostate cancer at higher concentrations. To evaluate the mass of 4NP in the glacier, GIS analysis is conducted with considerations of wind direction, topographic features, and 4NP concentrations throughout the glacial space.”


Undergraduate Prize: Elamar Hienrich (EVST ’18)

Elamar, an environmental studies student with minors in Spatial Studies and Human & Animal Studies won the undergraduate Roger Tomlinson Prize for Excellence in GIS for activities including Esri intern, Esri campus ambassador, Secretary of the University’s GIS club, student assistant at the Developer’s Summit. Research included habitat fragmentation of African Elephants for her Senior Capstone and calculating the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index for a meadow ecosystem in the San Bernardino Mountains.

Graduate Prize: Blythe Spendlove (MSGIS ’18)

Blythe was awarded the graduate Roger Tomlinson Prize for Excellence in GIS for spatial research on “Automation Wetland Prioritization Analysis using GIS”. This project provided a way for employees from the US Fish and Wildlife Service to visualize wetland priorities of different stakeholders when designating wetlands of international importance. A prioritization analysis for wetlands in California was automated into a collection of ModelBuilder tools and scripts and embedded into a web application. With the analysis process thus simplified, decision-makers can easily re-do the prioritization analysis with different weights for the various factors in the analysis and compare the results.


Graduate Prize: Mark Gilbert (MSGIS ’16)

Mark was awarded the graduate Roger Tomlinson Prize for Excellence in GIS for spatial research on “Film and Television Location Scouting: An Online Location Library” for Coachella Valley to provide scouting services to identify suitable production locations such as architecture and landscapes.

Graduate Prize: Brittany Miller (MSGIS ’16)

Brittany was awarded the graduate Roger Tomlinson Prize for Excellence in GIS for spatial research on “Cartographic Representation and Three-Dimensional Modeling of Hopi Archaeological Sites,” is a GIS solution for a real-world problem of improving the archaeological efforts on the Hopi Reservation.