Grad finds passion for geography and earth sciences

May 13, 2014

Asked what especially interests him about geography, Jason Edmunds hones in on the concept of studying place and time. 

“Whether the topic is land use, demographics, or geomorphology, being able to observe, measure and analyze how phenomena in the world are distributed – and also how they change over time – is exciting and empowering,” Edmunds said. Download Full Image

He found this passion for geography after a life trajectory that led him from high school straight into the workforce, and after some years' success in the high-tech industry, with positions as a project manager, technical editor and consultant. 

However, the birth of his son in 2006, led him to reflect on education and the model he would set. After almost 13 years in high-tech, he was ready for a change. In 2010, Edmunds entered Arizona State University, with a major in geology.

As he began taking geography classes, he gravitated towards the second field, and this month will earn degrees in both geography and the geologic focus of earth and environmental sciences, as well as a certificate in Geographic Information Science (GIS). He is the first in his family to graduate from college.

“At ASU, Jason has impressed all of his professors with his preparation, precision in questions and asking for assistance, his efficiency and thorough approach to assignments, and his passion for learning,” said ASU geography professor Ron Dorn.

With his interests focusing on physical geography and geographic information science, Edmunds was invited to serve as a preceptor for the school’s introductory physical geography course. Preceptors are top-level undergraduates who support the learning of students in the class, giving them one-on-one mentoring and tutoring. His training in geomorphology led to a synergism with the climatology expertise of the graduate student teaching assistants. Result: the GPH 111 students got a great experience.

By the time Edmunds took the required geographic research methods course this semester, he had developed a passion for research, too. Dorn, who taught the course, offered students the option to carry out a research project as if they intended to publish it – and Edmunds took up the challenge.

His topic focused on a landform in the eastern half of the South Mountain Preserve in Phoenix:  an area where disk-shaped rocks litter the slopes. Edmunds tested the idea that these disks are scale invariant – in that they maintain the same basic dimensions regardless of their size.

This project evolved into research on a type of granite landform that has not been discussed in the scholarly literature and includes electron microscope analyses of how the disks form. This research will be submitted to the prestigious Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, a publication of the British Geomorphological Research Society.

Having completed a milestone of his own education, as soon as graduation ceremonies end, Edmunds will begin working with Dorn to create update and revise geography course content here at ASU, specifically as it relates to landform processes, to better fit current students’ learning styles. 

“Long-term, I plan to pursue a PhD in geography," he says. "While completing the South Mountain research project, I realized – when it's not driving me mad – I absolutely love research. The process of identifying, studying and (hopefully) explaining a mysterious attribute of the world is invigorating. I look forward to diving in deeper.”

Barbara Trapido-Lurie

research professional senior, School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning


ASU professor emeritus lives the 'fit for life' mantra

May 13, 2014

The National Academy of Kinesiology presented Charles “Chuck” Corbin, professor emeritus in the School of Nutrition and Health Promotion at Arizona State University, with its highest honor, the Hetherington Award. The award was presented at the academy’s 82nd annual meeting in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The Hetherington Award is presented to those who have made outstanding contributions related to the study and educational application of human movement and physical activity. Download Full Image

Brad Cardinal, academy fellow and treasurer, introduced Corbin at the award banquet calling him the “father of fitness education.” Cardinal applauded Corbin for his many accomplishments, including establishing the President’s Council Science Board and “making science accessible to practitioners and the public at large.”

“(Corbin) is widely known as an innovator, leader and mentor – a statesman of kinesiology in the truest sense,” Cardinal said. “He also practices what he preaches, staying active and fit.”

Corbin said being recognized in this way by a group of accomplished peers is “very meaningful.”

“Every award is meaningful, but this one really stands out to me because just being in the Academy is a great honor,” Corbin said. “Also three of the new fellows inducted this year are ASU doctoral grads. One of the three is Greg Welk of Iowa State, one of my former doctoral students and co-authors.”

Corbin, who served on the ASU faculty for 25 years, has a long list of career accomplishments, which includes publishing 100 books (including the award winning textbooks "Fitness for Life" and "Concepts of Physical Fitness," more than 200 journal articles and numerous presentations world wide.

Corbin is an honor fellow of the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE America) and a member of its national Hall of Fame. He was honored by his alma mater, the University of New Mexico as a Centennial Scholar at the university’s 100-year anniversary celebration, and the University of Illinois as a Distinguished Alumnus.

Corbin began his career as an elementary school physical educator, before doing graduate study and becoming a college teacher, researcher and author. He remains active, having just completed the 17th edition of his college book and 6th edition of his high school book. 

“I am proud that I now have former ASU students as my co-authors and that one of my co-authors is my son, Will Corbin, associate professor of clinical psychology at ASU.

“Continuing my work keeps me alert and mentally fit,” he added. “I believe in what I do and continue to try to promote active and healthy lifestyles, especially among youth.”

Written by Brittany Hargrave

Director, Media Relations and Strategic Communications