Three members of the NASA Harvest consortium were recently recognized by the University of Maryland’s (UMD) Department of Geographical Sciences for their achievements over the past year. NASA Harvest, NASA’s Applied Sciences Agriculture and Food Security Program is based out of the University’s College Park campus near Greenbelt, MD, home of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Recognized for their accomplishments through NASA Harvest, as well as the department, the three honorees are each brilliant examples of the dedication that drives NASA Harvest’s mission.
NASA Harvest’s U.S. Domestic Co-Lead and AI Lead, Dr. Hannah Kerner, was awarded the Outstanding Research Faculty honor for her numerous accomplishments during her short tenure at UMD and Harvest. In only two years, Dr. Kerner has had 7 peer-reviewed conference proceedings, 12 invited talks, is a Primary Investigator on 2 grants, and a Co-Investigator on 4 other grants. In addition, Dr. Kerner was named to Forbes’ 2021 30 Under 30 and has worked extensively to extend opportunities and promote equality for women in STEM, including volunteering with Girls Who Code and Women in Machine Learning. Harvest Program Director, Inbal Becker-Reshef said of Hannah, “She is among a special class of young individuals who are paving the way for a healthier and more equitable world.”
Christina Justice, NASA Harvest’s South/Southeast Asia Lead and the Food Security Early Warning Co-Lead was recognized as the Outstanding Faculty Specialist award winner for her achievements in advancing global crop monitoring efforts, specifically her critical work leading the GEOGLAM Crop Monitor and Early Warning Project, part of a G20 initiative. She also leads the crop monitoring Special Reporting Activity for the United Nations and her work has led to new collaborations with the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Her award nominator describes her as an “invaluable resource for our department and the international community alike.”
NASA Harvest Chief Scientist Chris Justice, also the Chair of UMD’s Geography department, was recognized during the award ceremony for his work navigating the department through the tumultuous times caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Late last year, Dr. Justice was also recognized for a lifetime of accomplishments when he was awarded NASA’s Distinguished Public Service Medal, the highest form of recognition awarded to non-governmental individuals who “whose distinguished services and mission have directly contributed to the advancement of NASA’s objective for the United States.” Dr. Justice’s award nominators articulated their support for his strategic guidance, saying “Chris has an incredible vision for extending science into applications and this is matched with a drive to build capacity and see broader communities benefit from satellite Earth observations.”