Presenter Biographies

Delaware’s GIS Day 2022 Presenters


Tracy DeLiberty, Associate Professor 
Department of Geography and Spatial Sciences, University of Delaware

Tracy is an Associate Professor and Interim Chair with the Department of Geography and Spatial Sciences at the University of Delaware.  She is an educator teaching a full range of courses from introductory physical geography and GIS to advanced climatology and geospatial data science courses.  As a researcher studying land cover and land use changes caused by climate, ecological, and socioeconomic drivers, Tracy uses all sorts of ground based sensors, remote sensed imagery, and models to document and understand landcover/landuse dynamics to environmental changes leveraging innovative tools and geo-analytic methods to conduct these studies.  Her passions lie in taking the knowledge gained and translating it into effective societal contributions for us to effectively manage human impacts on the Earth’s environmental systems. 

Jing gao

Jing Gao, Assistant Professor
University of Delaware

Jing Gao is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography & Spatial Sciences and the Data Science Institute at UD. Her research investigates large-scale human-environment interactions, especially the relationship between global urban land use, population, and climate change. Trained in Geography and Computer Science, she approaches interdisciplinary scientific inquiries by integrating diverse data, quantitative and computational methods from spatial statistics, machine learning, big data mining, geo-visualization, and remote sensing, with narrative-based scenario analyses of societal development. Her research is generating new insights and datasets on global, long-term, spatially-explicit changes in urbanization and population characteristics, extending the SSP-RCP scenario framework used by the IPCC and the research community for understanding global environmental change impacts, spearheading creative data-science practices in long-term spatially-explicit modeling of socioeconomic processes, and developing new methods for evaluating the uncertainty and the success of such practice.
Olena Smith

Olena Smith, GISP, Lead Geospatial Information Consultant
IT Research CyberInfrastructure, University of Delaware

Olena supports the UD Geospatial Research community as a technological leader and facilitator to campus GIS projects in research and administrative realms. She develops and maintains internet mapping applications, supporting data for research, instruction, and administrative infrastructure projects. Olena provides UD geospatial cloud services along with a variety of other GIS applications support. She provides consulting, training, documentation, and outreach for the GIS community locally and nationally. Over the years Olena has worked in developing and managing servers and databases; developing and teaching geospatial courses at Esri. She has 20 years of experience in the GIS field.

Eric Wagner, Product Engineer – Learn ArcGIS

Eric Wagner is nothing short of a geography nerd (and proud of it)! Currently, he works at Esri as a Product Engineer creating educational videos. He also volunteers with several non-profit organizations in the region focusing on international development and environmental conservation. If he’s not mapping something, he’s probably out for a run, hiking, or working on his Jeep. Eric graduated from Villanova University with a BA in Geography and an MS in Geography from West Chester University.

Jason Vogl
Principal Planner with the Office of State Planning Coordination (OSPC)

Jason is a Principal Planner with the Office of State Planning Coordination (OSPC) and is the GIS Coordinator for the State of Delaware. In his role with OSPC Jason is responsible for supporting his fellow Principal Planners with Plan of service reviews for Municipal Annexations, State Strategies Analysis, Preliminary Land Use Service, Development Trends, Downtown Development districts and other Geographical needs for statewide consumption. Additionally in his role for OSPC he is tasked to working with other agencies for GIS solutions and larger scope efforts where multi-agency coordination is warranted. As the GIS Coordinator Jason is charged with the responsibility of Chairing the Delaware Geographic Data Committee (DGDC) where he is responsible for coordinating quarterly meetings, facilitating multi-agency collaboration, and informing the community of statewide efforts.

Emily Rossini, UD student

Emily Rossini is pursuing an Honors degree at the University of Delaware in Civil and Environmental Engineering. She is a Teaching Assistant for an introductory GIS course as well as two general chemistry courses. She has worked with Allan Myers to create 3D site layouts, building models, and jobsite analyses for various construction sites across Delaware. Emily seeks to study abroad in the future and apply her GIS knowledge to a full-scale environmental service project.

Bhoktear Khan, PhD Student, Graduate Teacher’s Assistance
Department of Geography and Spatial Sciences

Bhoktear is a second year Ph.D. student in the Department of Geography and Spatial Sciences at the University of Delaware. Bhoktear holds a BS degree in Agriculture and MS degree in Agroforestry and Environment with a major focus in GIS and Remote Sensing both from Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University. During his master’s program he studied Rohingya people’s migration and relocation in Bangladesh using geospatial techniques. Currently, his research focuses on the coping mechanism of Nigeria’s food security and sustainability due to climate change.

Jay Hodny

Jay W. Hodny, PhD GIS Technician

Public Works and Water Resources Department, City of Newark, DE

Jay resides in the Public Works and Water Resources Department at the City of Newark, DE, where he does all things GIS, including ArcGIS platform administration,application development, and general GIS map and data support. He has been with Newark for six years. Prior to Newark, he worked in the Kent County, DE Public Works Department for about a year, after 25 years in the private sector where he mapped soil and groundwater contamination at sites all over the world. Jay earned a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Geography from the University of North Dakota, and a Master’s degree in Geography and PhD in Climatology, both from the University of Delaware.

Emily Loughin, Research Assistant
Center for Community Research and Service, University of Delaware

Emily Loughlin is a Research Assistant with the Center for Community Research and Service at the University of Delaware where she works alongside the Medicaid research team. She completed her MPH in Health Management and Policy from Drexel University in 2020 and is pursuing an MA in Urban Affairs and Public Policy from the University of Delaware.

Dan Blevins Principal Transportation Planner,
Wilmington Area Planning Council (WILMAPCO)

Dan is a Principal Transportation Planner with the Wilmington Area Planning Council (WILMAPCO), in which he has worked for the past 21 years. He is a graduate from the University of Delaware with a Bachelors Degree in Geography. Current duties at WILMAPCO include congestion management and operations, demographic forecasting and regional goods movement planning. In addition, Dan serves as the agency’s GIS database administrator and manages several sub-regional studies throughout the WILMAPCO region. Before his tenure at WILMAPCO he worked as a program manager for the University of Delaware Athletics Department and as a GIS Analyst for the New Castle County Water Resources Agency. 

Daniel Peart, Data Services Librarian
University of Delaware Library


Dr. Daniel Peart received his PhD in Anthropology from the Ohio State University. In his career, Daniel has participated in pan-disciplinary ecological and social research funded by the National Science Foundation. Daniel has trained researchers on data management strategies, data analysis techniques, and the integration of qualitative and quantitative data into analytical computer models. Daniel enjoys working with researchers to overcome data challenges. His education agenda emphasizes best practices for data management and data ethics to promote information literacy.

K. Clare Quinlan, Environmental Scientist
DNREC Division of Climate, Coastal, and Energy

Clare Quinlan is an Environmental Scientist with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC)’s Division of Climate, Coastal, and Energy.  Clare holds a Bachelor’s degree in Zoology and a Master of Environmental Science in Applied Ecology and Conservation from Miami University and a Graduate Certificate in GIS from West Chester University.  Her primary duties involve conducting environmental reviews of development projects processed through the Preliminary Land Use Service, and coordinating with scientists and planners throughout the department to provide comments on projects. She also develops and manages GIS data and platforms for the Sustainability Section.

Michael Tholstrup, AICP
Delaware State Parks

As a Recreation Planner with Delaware State Parks, Mike brings his experience in land use and sustainable planning to apply a long-range outlook to outdoor recreation. Mike manages a local government grant program and has been engaged in efforts to identify environmental justice communities across Delaware so government services can better support these communities. He is the incoming Vice President of the Delaware Chapter of American Planning Association, a founding member of the Resilient and Sustainable Communities League (RASCL), and previously served in the Delaware Division of Climate, Coastal, and Energy, where he promoted sustainable growth in communities. Mike received his BA and MPA from UD and has maintained his connection to the Biden School of Public Policy throughout his career.

Alexis Cervantes, UD Student
Department of Geography and Spatial Sciences

Alexis Cervantes is pursuing a bachelor’s degree at the University of Delaware in Environmental Science with a concentration in Climate and Society and minors in Geography and Sociology. She was a Teaching Assistant for the “Understanding Climate Change Course” during her junior year at UD. She is currently working in the Office within the Department of Geography and Spatial Sciences, where she assists faculty and staff with ongoing projects. She is also currently collaborating with Tracy DeLiberty and Mary Schorse in the creation and implementation of maps into 6th grade geography classrooms across the state of Delaware by utilizing ArcGIS Online. Alexis seeks to apply her GIS-knowledge in the field in hopes to have more national parks fully mapped in the near future, in order to understand the history and significance of these important landmarks and sites.