Academic Technology Services

Data Science and Spatial Analysis, et al.

There's always a way to hack your data!

A rotating neutron star with its magnetic axis at an angle, which flashes when it rotates directly towards us.I work with faculty and students to support their use of the software applications ArcGIS, Mathematica, and Matlab, along with mapping technologies such as GPS and Google Earth, academic applications of Excel, R, SPSS, and databases, various programming languages, Unix applicationshigh-performance computing, and virtual reality. I also support our classroom response systems (aka clickers) and build interactive web sites when appropriate. I provide secondary support for graphics applications such as Illustrator / Inkscape, Photoshop / GIMP, and InDesign / Powerpoint, and academic use of the College Web sites and the Moodle learning management system (LMS).

I teach short courses on these technologies, I’m occasionally involved in semester courses to varying degrees, and I provide one-on-one assistance.

I am also the academic technology consultant for these academic departments and programs: Biochemistry & Biophysics, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Economics, Environmental Studies, Geology, Mathematics & Statistics, Neuroscience, and Physics & Astronomy.

Because of the widespread applicability of geographic information systems (GIS), I also often find myself working with faculty and students in History, Political Science, cultural studies, and digital humanities. In addition, I am an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Conservation at the University of Massachusetts.

I have a Ph.D. in Physics, and more than forty years experience in research, teaching, and using and supporting academic technology in higher education.

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A network diagram of Amherst College faculty, clustered by the educational institutions from which they received their degrees.

My Activities

— TeachingProjectsPresentationsConferences

— Faculty Projects and Student Theses for Which I've Provided Support

— Some Older Stuff


Venn diagram of the components of CyberGIS: Geographic Information Science, Computational Science, Technologies, Problem Solving
A UMass Course, GIS Programming (2023, et ante)

Cross-listed with the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Data Analytics and Computational Social Science Program.

Workshops for the Course Cartographic Cultures (2023, et ante)
  • Georeferencing hand-drawn maps
  • Annotating and embellishing maps
Summer Research Gatherings & Workshops (2022, et ante)
Workshops for the First-Year Seminar “Finding Your Roots”: Narratives of Self and Community (2020, et ante)
  • Interviewing Your Relatives
  • Sprouting Your Family Tree
  • Investigating Primary Sources

News: A story in Amherst Magazine about the seminar, Rooted: First-year students tested their DNA in a new course inspired by the PBS series Finding Your Roots.

A Research Seminar, Cities, Schools, and Space (2020, et ante)

News: A write-up of the first offering of this seminar in Spring 2011 appeared in Amherst Magazine; scroll down to “Improving Faculty-Student Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences”.

Interterm Courses (2020, et ante):

News: A short photo log of this course, “The 2020 Interterm Experience”, appears in Amherst Magazine.

A UMass Honors Discovery Seminar, Our Environment of Light (2019)


American Association of Geographers Redistricting Panel Series: Wisconsin Fair Representation (2022)

Organized, introduced, and moderated a panel presentation that included a demographer, a political scientist, a government redistricting representative, and an activist.

A map of Massachusetts showing its Congressional Districts, with the original gerrymander on top.
Assessing the Impact of the Inner Belt: MIT, Highways, and the Housing Market in Cambridge, Massachusetts

A research paper in the Journal of Urban History,
written with Prof. Hilary Moss and Yinan Zhang ’12.


MIT and the Three Inner Belt Proposals
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Tutorial
Mapping Beyond Shangri-La
The Immigrant City: A Mapped-Based Augmented Reality Game
Cityscapes, An Online Discovery Tool for Urban and Cultural Studies
Light Pollution in Massachusetts
A map of light pollution, showing its large presence in eastern Massachusetts and its movement up the Connecticut River valley.


Our Environment of Light: An Interdisciplinary Survey Course

Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences Annual Conference, July 2020

Finding Your Roots: Understanding America’s Immigrant History Through Genealogy

Bucknell Digital Scholarship Conference, October 2018

Open Educational Resources for Community Service with Web-Based Geographic Information Science and Technology

NERCOMP Professional Development Opportunity on OER: Obtaining Exceptional Results, College of the Holy Cross, February 2018

Cities, Schools, and Highways   Powerpoint PDF

Institute for Social Science Research, University of Massachusetts Amherst, December 2015

Research Computing at Amherst College

Future Directions in Research Computing in the Northeast, Waltham MA, September 2015

Community Service with Web-Based Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIST): Blended Pedagogies for the Twenty-First Century

Five College Blended Learning Institute, Amherst College, May 2015



Co-organizer, Amherst Student Summer Research Poster Session, September 2019, et ante.

Program Committee Chair, Free and Open Source Software for Geography (FOSS4G), Boston, August 2017.

Co-organizer, NEArc Spring Conference, May 2015, et ante.

Co-organizer, Amherst Explorations: A Celebration of Student Research and Creative Work, April 2015, et ante.


Faculty Projects for Which I've Provided Support

 Professor Robert Benedetto

Article: “Small Dynamical Heights for Quadratic Polynomials and Rational Functions”

Professor Ronald Rosbottom

Map of Hitler’s Tour of Paris for the book: When Paris Went Dark: The City of Light Under German Occupation, 1940–1944

News: “Rosbottom Reflects on the Success of ‘When Paris Went Dark’”

Professor Larry Hunter

Article: “Using the Earth as a Polarized Electron Source to Search for Long-Range Spin-Spin Interactions”

News: “Physicist’s Work Sheds New Light on Possible ‘Fifth Force of Nature’”

Professor George Greenstein

Web Site: Interesting Problems for Astronomy 101 or 102


Student Projects for Which I've Provided Support

Economics Major Fabián Rivera Reyes ’19

Thesis: “The Economic Effects of Insurrectionary Activity”

English Major Christin Washington ’17

Thesis: Black Brooklyn

Neuroscience Major Christianna Mariano ’21

News: “The Sound of Science”

Economics Major Alvaro Morales ’14

Thesis: “The Effect of Civil Conflict on Child Abuse: Evidence from Peru”

News: “Singh Organizes, and Morales ’14 Presents at, First Liberal Arts Colleges Development Economics Conference”

History Major Larissa Davis ’13

News: “A Staunch Advocate for a Better Amherst College”