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Department News


23 April 2012 Geomorphology Field Trip

13 cadets from the EV388B Geomorphology class went on a field trip to Sandy Hook, NJ on Monday, April 23rd.  The cadets learned about the origins of New Jersey’s coastal landforms.  They completed field experiments about coastal processes by taking measurements to quantitatively analyze erosion and depositional processes.  The cadets learned about beach remediation and engineering projects designed to preserve Sandy Hook’s unique coastal spit.  The class also took a guided tour of historic Fort Hancock, located on the Sandy Hook spit, led by the park’s historian, Mr. Tom Hoffman.  The fort dates back to the Revolutionary War and was in active service until 1974.  It was a crucial link in America’s coastal defenses, specifically the defense of New York City’s harbor.  The POC is assistant professor, MAJ Margaret L. McGunegle at


International Event

The Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering in cooperation with the Center for Language, Culture and Regional Studies hosted an international event that focused on regional expertise and Europe. The guest speaker was Dr. Viliam Lauko from Komensky University in Bratislava, Slovakia. Dr. Lauko is a Professor of Geography and the Head of Department of Regional Geography, Planning and Environment. He had a lecture to cadets on April 30th entitled: "The Significance of Regional Expertise in Europe and the Role of Slovakia in the European Union." On May 1st he spoke to Geography faculty about the Teaching, Research and Service at the Department of Regional Geography, Planning and Environment at Komensky University in Bratislava.  POC: Dr. Peter Siska at


Faculty Outreach

From March 29th to April 25th, COL Steven Fleming and MAJ Margaret L. McGunegle taught 32 students from the West Point Middle School on earthquake science and engineering through the DOD Schools Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education and Outreach plan.  COL Fleming coordinated the teaching through 8th grade science teacher, Mrs. Carol Johnson.  MAJ McGunegle developed course material by applying her expertise in geological engineering and physical geography.  The four lessons incorporated classroom discussions, multimedia video and clips, and hands-on activities.   Students learned about the science behind earthquakes, their causes and effects, and culminated with a design contest to build the most earthquake resistant building by applying basic concepts and using just marshmallows and toothpicks.  The POC is assistant professor, MAJ Margaret L. McGunegle at

Guest Lecture – Minerva Fellow
On 20 March 2012, the Department welcomed Dr. Makame Muhajir to the Academy for a short visit. Dr. Muhajir has been selected as the 2012-2013 Minerva Fellow in the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering. Dr. Muhajir toured the Academy grounds, participated in a Minerva Initiative office call with BG Trainor, gave a presentation to faculty on urban planning in Zanzibar, and joined other USMA Minerva personnel for lunch at the West Point Club. Dr. Muhajir will return to USMA in April for the Minerva Workshop and hopes to be in residence at the Academy beginning in April. (Photo courtesy of Ms. Kristine Ringler, Minerva Research Associate.) POC is Dr. Jon Malinowski at

Guest Lecture – EV400
Cadets enrolled in EV400 (Environmental Engineering Seminar) received a lecture titled “Environmental Issues and Solutions for Dredging and Sediment Management Projects in the New York and New Jersey Harbor.” The lecture was presented by Mr. Joe Puzio, P.E. (Senior Vice President), Mr. John Duschang, and Mr. Ed Garland from HDR Engineering (Pearl River, NY office). The talk highlighted ongoing efforts between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and HDR to maintain and deepen the critical shipping lanes in the NY/NJ harbor while simultaneously balancing the impact upon the spawning habits of winter flounder. Additionally, the projects to manage and remediate dredged material in the Passaic River and Newark Bay were discussed. This lecture complemented the course work completed in EV301 (Environmental Science for Engineers and Scientists), EV481 (Water Resources Planning and Design) and EV488 (Solid and Hazardous Waste Treatment and Remediation). The POC is LTC Starke,

21 March 2012: Academic Trip - Panama
Cadets Devin Redding (Class 2012), Phoebe White (2013), Patrick Yu (2013), and LTC Jeff Starke from the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering traveled to the Republic of Panama during spring break. This trip was sponsored by the United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) J45 (Mr. Richard Dominguez) and funded by the Rich and Debbie Adams Gift Fund. The Cadets were immersed in the forward engagement activities that support SOUTHCOM’s mission in Panama. The trip was designed around current efforts by SOUTHCOM to support the Panamanian SENAN (National Air-Naval Service) operations in the Pacific. Specifically, the Cadets visited the construction of a remote operations and logistical base on the island of Punta Coco (30 miles from Panama City) that will utilize renewable energy technologies to meet all energy requirements. Trip highlights included an extensive visit at the U.S. Embassy (over 10 different agencies were visited), briefing with the Charge d’Affairs (Mr. John Law), visit to the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, visit to the Panama Canal Locks/Expansion Project, and a cultural/historical tour of Panama City. The group was also hosted by Cadet Mario Cortizo’s (USMA Class of 2013, Company B1) parents – Mr. Moises (USMA Class of 1980) and Litzy Cortizo. The Cortizo’s hosted the group at a local restaurant featuring Panamanian cuisine and traditional dance. The POC is LTC Starke,

Faculty Scholarship – Conference Presentation
From 11-15 March, COL Steve Fleming attended DoD's National Conference on Test and Evaluation. At that conference COL Fleming’s group from DRI, USMA, and YPG presented his work on the Science of Test (focusing on the importance of test site characterization). From our discussions, numerous service reps and agencies have since engaged COL Fleming on his work, which will likely lead to more applied research. The POC is COL Steve Fleming at

07 March 2012 RecycleMania Update
We are approximately half-way through the RecycleMania competition this year and West Point is faring well to date. We are currently 4th of 291 in the Per Capita Classic, which measures the total amount of recyclable items (bottles, cans, paper, cardboard) and divides by our faculty, staff, and student population. We are 48th of 273 in the Gorilla Competition Division, which measures the total weight of recyclable items regardless of school size. We are doing very well in each “targeted” material category – we are 8th of 137 in the paper category, 3rd of 140 in the cardboard category, and 8th of 97 in the bottles/cans category. Also of note, we have increased our ties with the West Point Garrison and FMWR, and have begun to increase advertising and support for RecycleMania throughout the entire community. Many thanks to Cadet Devin Redding (H4, ’12, Ev Science Major), the RecycleMania CIC, and our new Assistant CIC, Cadet Christine Esachina (C3, ’13, Ev Science Major), for their hard work promoting RecycleMania in the Corps! The point of contact is MAJ Andrew Pfluger at