Faculty Affiliates
Current Graduate Assistants
Former Graduate Assistants
Community Partners
University Affiliates


Jonnell Allen Robinson

Associate Professor and Co-Director, Syracuse Community Geography, Syracuse University

I came to Syracuse University in September 2005 to become the first “community geographer” here or elsewhere. In this avant-garde position, I am tasked with assisting community-based organizations to analyze geographic research topics of their choosing. It is truly a labor of love. I meet new people passionate about their communities and contribute to exciting community initiatives almost daily. I help to forge partnerships between traditionally trained academic scholars and local experts to tackle some of our most pressing community concerns. I am assisted by a dynamic team of bright and thoughtful undergraduate interns and graduate research assistants. In 2011, I was awarded a Syracuse University Chancellor’s Citation for Excellence for my work with hundreds of community partners, students and faculty on participatory research projects. In 2012, I was promoted to Assistant Professor of Geography at SU. As a Professor, I have a greater opportunity to advance participatory research as a pedagogy and scholarship.

To support the growing interest in community geography at other geography departments, I was named an approved speaker by the Visiting Geographical Scientist Program (VGSP), sponsored by Gamma Theta Upsilon and the Association of American Geographers. Through the VGSP program I have consulted on newly created community geography programs at Georgia State University and Columbus State University. Locally, I serve on a number of community-based steering and advisory committees to offer a geographic perspective to important community concerns.

My diverse education prepared me for this unique position: I have Bachelor’s degrees in International Studies and Political Science from Niagara University (1998). I completed the Master of Public Health in Maternal and Child Health/Global Health at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (2003). I obtained my PhD in Geography, specializing in Medical Geography under the direction of the renowned medical geographer Melinda Meade from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (2010).

Arnisson Andre C Ortega

Assistant Professor and Co-Director, Syracuse Community Geography, Syracuse University

Community engagement is a critical aspect of my work as a geographer. Much of my research is connected to collaborative and participatory projects with marginalized communities in the Philippines. Since 2010, I have partnered with farming communities, indigenous peoples, and urban poor residents who confront a variety of urban issues. Most of our collaborative projects have involved counter-mapping initiatives exposing dispossession and violence, and engendering community-led initiatives and campaigns.

In 2019, I spearheaded the establishment of Counter-mapping PH, a collective of geographers, activists, artists, students, and other volunteers interested in community-engaged mapping. Counter-mapping PH aims to support communities that face development aggression, primarily those who are facing the prospect of displacement. We conduct various mapping activities in support of community campaigns, often yielding diverse mapping outputs on multiple platforms, from map infographics to printed posters.

I have been with Syracuse University since 2019. In teaching, I regularly incorporate insights from my experiences conducting community-engaged work, oftentimes bringing-in community partners as invited speakers. I also offer a counter-mapping course where students can work on projects that support partner communities overseas. In the future, I envision supporting efforts that will build a transnational community of geographers, students, and other volunteers who support and partner with communities in various parts of the world.

Faculty Affiliates

Timur Hammond

Assistant Professor, Geography and the Environment

I am a cultural and urban geographer whose research explores how people create senses of self in relation to the cities in which they live. My research has been primarily based in Istanbul, Turkey, where I draw on over a decade of research and publication, including my recently published book Placing Islam. Building relationships through long-term engagement in a place has been key to my research trajectory, and I am excited to continue building those relationships between collaborations in and beyond Syracuse University. I also teach courses that overlap with many themes in Community Geography, including our departments introductory Human Geographies course and an upper division course focusing on the Geographies of Memory.

Meghan Kelly

Assistant Professor, Geography and the Environment

I work at the intersection of cartography, feminist theory, and digital storytelling. I am particularly interested in the role of power in spatial data, map design, and mapping processes. My most recent project, for example, examines the ubiquity and use of satellite data in the news and our everyday lives through a Black feminist lens. In my work, I aim to rethink and expand conventional cartographic tools and techniques through alternative perspectives.

Community engagement is central to feminist approaches mapping and digital storytelling. As such, I aim to center communities most impacted by spatial phenomenon in my work. During my time at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, I collaborated with community groups in Madison and Milwaukee to examine the impacts of policing and surveillance on local communities. We ran a series of workshops or what we called a “design challenges” to offer alternative narratives and new maps that challenge the carceral state. A collectively written paper and curation of our maps are available here. Additionally, I’ve worked with community partners in data-driven projects to examine the availability of housing stock in major cities across the US. I’ve also worked alongside scholars from eastern Ukraine to brainstorm ways of documenting and sharing stories of displacement during the war through mapping. Finally, questions of power and community are prominent in my teaching both in– and outside the classroom. I encourage my students to acknowledge systems of power and their own subject position within the mapping process as a way to create maps that work towards transformative justice. I joined Syracuse University in 2023 and am currently teaching Geo 381: Cartographic Design.

Chie Sakakibara

Associate Professor, Native American & Indigenous Studies, Center for Global Indigenous Cultures & Environmental Justice, Geography and the Environment 

I am a cultural geographer who has been collaborating with the Iñupiat community of Arctic Alaska over two decades to explore Indigenous cultural resilience in the times of global climatic and environmental change. The scope and significance of my research is not limited to Alaska but intersects with research in North America and the Pacific Rim where human well-being and society-nature intersections are threatened by climate change. In collaboration with my colleague Danika Medak-Saltzman (SU Women’s & Gender Studies) and our Indigenous community mentors and partners, I am currently co-designing a medium-term project that facilitates the sharing of Indigenous experiences with climate change and human well-being internationally through an alliance-building agenda with the Haudenosaunee Territory, Arctic Alaska (Iñupiat), and northern Japan (Ainu).

Current Graduate Assistants

Amanda Beavin

Graduate Student, Geography and the Environment, Public Administration and International Affairs

Syracuse Community Geography Graduate Assistant, AY 2023 – 24

Former Graduate Assistants

Community Partners

Counter-mapping PH

Counter-mapping x Social Practice x Cultural Work. My practice dissects the functions of social institutions (such as museums, monuments, mass media, maps) which are instrumental in the legitimation of truths and, relatedly, the control and distribution of power.

Urban Jobs Task Force

A coalition of organizations and residents of Onondaga County and the City of Syracuse that works to combat poverty by advocating for job training and job opportunities for Syracuse’s unemployed and under-employed workers, especially minorities.

FOCUS Greater Syracuse

“Forging Our Community’s United Strength,” F.O.C.U.S. Greater Syracuse is a community-wide visioning program created with the goal of making Syracuse a better place to live and work.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of CNY

The mission of Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Central New York is to create, identify, and support programs that directly improve the health and well being of children and families in Central New York and Northern Pennsylvania.

The Samaritan Center

The Samaritan Center is a 501c3, interfaith effort of community members committed to serving the hungry and those in need in order to promote their welfare dignity and self sufficiency. Since 1981 Samaritan Center’s mission has fought hunger in the greater Syracuse community by providing nutritious hot meals to anyone in need 7 days a week.

The Interreligious Food Consortium

The Interreligious Food Consortium  is an umbrella agency for more than 70 food pantries and meal sites throughout Onondaga County, connecting people in need of food assistance with appropriate resources.

BRiDGES Tobacco Prevention Unit

BRiDGES Tobacco Prevention Unit is a combination of BRiDGES to Prevent Tobacco and Reality Check CNY, two community partners who advocate for truth in tobacco advertising, labeling, and product design, as well as holding the tobacco industry accountable for its actions.

Reach CNY

The mission of REACH CNY is to provide resources, education, advocacy, and collaboration for a healthier Central New York.

Deaf Advocacy Council of Central New York

The main objective of Deaf Advocacy Council is to encourage all Deaf individuals to help each other in good spirit and fellowship to enhance our Deaf image; as well as to help the public community understand our needs, language and culture. DAC also will promote the welfare of Deaf individuals in various areas connected to their search of economic security, social justice and rights and privileges as citizens.

Community Supported Agriculture of Central New York

Since 1998, Community Supported Agriculture of Central New York (CSA-CNY) has been bringing people together to safeguard, promote, make available, and enjoy locally grown organic foods. Started as part of the New Environment Institute in 1997 as part of the institute’s continued efforts to support a more local approach to food.

Central New York Regional Market Authority

The mission of the Regional Market Authority is to provide facilities, programs and service to promote opportunities for Agriculture and commerce in Central New York.

Literacy Coalition of Onondaga County

The Literacy Coalition‘s mission is to build upon our heritage and collectively support community initiatives that raise literacy levels across the lifespan in Onondaga County. Solving the problem of low literacy gets at the root of educational, social and economic issues in a way that no single subject does.

Centerstate Corporation for Economic Opportunity

The CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity is a twelve-county business leadership and economic development organization, based in Syracuse, New York. We represent more than 2,000 members and serve as the region’s primary economic, community and business development catalyst. Together, we work to achieve regional growth and total community prosperity through partnerships, planning and problem solving.

Syracuse Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Syracuse Convention & Visitors Bureau (SCVB) plays a vital role in Onondaga County’s economic development strategy through its focus on growing the area’s $724 million tourism industry. As the county’s official and accredited destination marketing organization, the SCVB works to generate short-term and future income for businesses, employment for residents and tax revenue for local government.

Syracuse Metropolitan Transportation Council

The Syracuse Metropolitan Transportation Council (SMTC) is the State-designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), responsible for administering the continuous and comprehensive transportation planning process in Onondaga County, and small portions of Madison and Oswego Counties. As the MPO, the SMTC provides the forum for cooperative decision making in the development of transportation plans, programs and recommendations.

Hunger Action Network of NY State

The Hunger Action Network of New York State is a statewide membership organization that combines grassroots organizing at the local level with state level research, education and advocacy to address the root causes of hunger, including poverty.

Meals on Wheels of Syracuse

Meals on Wheels‘ mission is to organize, plan, and administer the service of delivering nutritious meals, nutrition education, and resource assistance to people living in our community unable to do so for themselves.

Housing Visions

Housing Visions is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) agency that offers a talented team of developers, construction managers, property managers, and human services experts.
We directly partner with neighborhood and community organizations and work with local leaders, individuals and families within each neighborhood. It is a true alliance that allows each neighborhood to seek its own destiny and participate in building a new future. Together with our community partners, we change the course of history…one neighborhood at a time.

Outer Comstock Neighborhood Association

OCNA is a non-profit neighborhood organization representing the area bounded by East Colvin Street, Skytop, Ainsley Drive and Brighton Avenue in the City of Syracuse.

Onondaga County Public Library

The mission of the Onondaga County Public Library is to make a positive difference in every life we touch by putting the power of ideas and information to work for all.

United Way of Central New York

United Way of Central New York is organized around a set of guiding organizational principles: a core mission that defines our role in the community, a vision that inspires our efforts, and strategies that shape our work: To increase the organized capacity of people to care for one another and to become a community reaching its full caring potential.

Cooperative Federal Credit Union

Cooperative Federal is a unique combination of a traditional credit union and a non-profit community development organization. Becoming a member of Cooperative Federal is making a choice to build our local community and to advance social justice.

Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation (NOON)

Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation (NOON) is a grassroots effort of Central New Yorkers. We support the sovereignty of the Onondaga Nation’s traditional government, their Land Rights Action and we collaborate with them on environmental protection and restoration. We join in the Onondaga Nation’s call for justice, reconciliation and healing. We believe that we, and the wider community, have a great deal to learn from the Onondagas about living more peacefully with one another and more harmoniously with the Earth. NOON is a project of the Syracuse Peace Council.

The Partnership for Onondaga Creek

The Partnership for Onondaga Creek (POC), founded in 2000, is a non-profit, un-staffed, low-budget, unincorporated, independent grassroots citizens’ group. The POC is dedicated to environmnetal justice and to water quality of Syracuse’s waterways, especially Onondaga Creek.


SyracuseFirst is a not for profit network of locally owned, independent businesses and organizations dedicated to building a sustainable community by encouraging citizens to “Think Local First”. Founded in 2009, our mission is to create a thriving local economy by maximizing the potential of local businesses, and transferring market share from non-locally owned businesses to local independently owned businesses.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Onondaga County

The Cornell Cooperative Extension educational system enables people to improve their lives and communities through partnerships that put experience and research knowledge to work.
Cornell Cooperative Extension fulfills this mission through a commitment to lifelong education that is learner-centered and results-oriented.

City of Syracuse

Syracuse is the fifth most populous city in New York State with around 145,000 residents. City divisions that have worked with Community Geography in the past include Neighborhood and Business Development, Planning and Sustainability, Water Resources, Public Works, Public Art and Tomorrows Neighborhoods Today.

InterFaith Works of Central New York

InterFaith Works of Central New York, through education, service and dialogue, affirms the dignity of each person and every faith community and works to create relationships and understanding among us.

Center for Community Alternatives

The Center for Community Alternatives (CCA) is a leader in the field of community-based alternatives to incarceration. Our mission is to promote reintegrative justice and a reduced reliance on incarceration through advocacy, services and public policy development in pursuit of civil and human rights.

BRiDGES- Madison County Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse

The mission of BRiDGES is to improve the quality of life by providing advocacy and services to our community, the workplace, families and individuals affected by addiction and the abuse of alcohol, tobacco and other substances.

Syracuse Center of Excellence

SyracuseCoE is a federation of firms, organizations, and institutions that creates innovations to improve health, productivity, security, and sustainability in built and urban environments.

Syracuse City School District

The Syracuse City School District is comprised of 5 high schools, 6 middle schools, 7 K-8 schools, 14 elementary schools and 4 alternative school programs serving nearly 23,000 students in the City of Syracuse. They participate in the Say Yes to Education Program, a nationwide group that seeks to improve performance and graduation rates in inner-city districts.

Onondaga Citizens League

OCL was organized in 1978 by a group of interested and concerned citizens. An independent and nonpartisan organization, it was incorporated in 1980 and received non-profit, tax exempt status in 1981. Its members discuss and propose solutions to issues facing Central New York. OCL then generates reports offering specific recommendations for resolving the studied problem. The league does not promote specific legislation nor function as a lobbying group.

Central New York Community Foundation

Established in 1927, the Central New York Community Foundation encourages local philanthropy by supporting the growth of a permanent charitable endowment for the betterment of the region. The Community Foundation is the largest charitable foundation in the region with assets of more than $143 million. It awarded $8.3 million in grants last year to nonprofit organizations and since its inception has invested more than $120 million in the community.

Child Care Solutions

Child Care Solutions is the Child Care Resource & Referral agency that serves Onondaga and Cayuga County. Since 1975 we have worked to connect Central NY parents to care that meets their needs and to give child care providers the resources and tools they need to provide high-quality care.

P.E.A.C.E., Inc.

PEACE, Inc. is Onondaga County’s federally designated Community Action Agency. As part of the national network of Community Action Agencies, PEACE, Inc. seeks to help people become more self-sufficient by strengthening families, improving the conditions in which people live, encouraging people to own a stake in their own community, and developing partnerships with other organizations, businesses, and individuals to support these efforts.

Northside Urban Partnership

Northside UP seeks to radically improve the quality of life within the Northside of Syracuse by assembling diverse groups of stakeholders to engage in common tasks for the benefit of the community.

Syracuse Grows

Syracuse Grows is a grassroots coalition of individuals, gardens, and community collaborators working to cultivate a just foodscape in the City of Syracuse. They provide advocacy, programming, education, and resources to support food justice and community development through community gardening and urban agriculture.

University Affiliates

Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs

The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs is a leading academic institution in the United States committed to scholarship, civic leadership, and education in Public Affairs, International Relations and the Social Sciences.


David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics

The David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics brings together Syracuse University’s professional programs in Child and Family Studies, Health and Wellness, Hospitality Management, Marriage and Family Therapy, Nutrition Science and Dietetics, Social Work, and Sport Management in an environment of cross-disciplinary teaching, research, practice, and service.

Mary Ann Shaw Center for Public and Community Service

If classrooms are the brains of Syracuse University, we are its heart and hands. The Mary Ann Shaw Center intentionally unites professional staff, faculty, and students in service to the civic realm. Transcending boundaries of academic discipline or practice, we collaborate with community partners as ambassadors of learning and citizenship.

Cornell University Program on Applied Demographics

The Program on Applied Demographics (PAD) brings skills in demographics, economics, statistics, data gathering and data analysis together to provide a variety of organizations with data, information and advice. PAD works closely with the New York State Department of Labor, the U.S. Census Bureau and other organizations to assist them in their activities.

PAD is part of the Cornell Population Center, a university-wide program serving 96 affiliates from 24 different departments and is housed in the College of Human Ecology at Cornell University.