Colwell Honored by American Association of Geographers

Nov 15, 2018

Rita Colwell, a Distinguished University Professor in the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies, has been honored by the American Association of Geographers (AAG) with its 2019 AAG Honorary Geographer award.

The award recognizes exceptional leaders in the arts, research and teaching, as well those that excel in writing on geographic topics, including work by non-geographers.

Previous awardees include biologist Stephen J. Gould, architect Maya Lin, Nobel Laureate in economics Paul Krugman, sociologist Saskia Sassen, economist Jeffrey Sachs, and authors Calvin Trillin, Barbara Kingsolver, John McPhee and Barry Lopez.

Colwell, who continues to conduct research in the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, was recognized by the AAG for her pioneering research in water and health, with a particular focus on cholera and other waterborne infectious diseases.

She is currently collaborating with the United Nations and the British government to help curb cholera in Yemen and other affected regions.

The team is using data from NASA satellites to create risk maps based on several factors including air and water temperatures, precipitation, severity of natural disasters, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure, and population density.

Colwell will receive the AAG award at the organization’s 2019 annual meeting held next April in Washington, D.C.