My passion for agriculture stems from my family’s viticulture business, from a background in international development, and from a long-standing interest in methods of maintaining human livelihoods. My training in geography turned my attention toward remote sensing and geospatial methodologies, and showed the importance of spatial thinking in global problem-solving.

My research focuses on agriculture and the monitoring and mapping of agricultural characteristics and processes worldwide. I have spent most of my career leading efforts to define Earth observations data requirements for global agricultural monitoring, and working with space agencies through CEOS in order to increase acquisition of, availability and continuity of, and access to consistently pre-processed satellite data sets for agriculture. In this vein, I am the agriculture point of contact for the CEOS and lead of GEOGLAM's Earth observation data coordination activity; I also co-lead GEOGLAM's capacity development team, and am the founder of the Agriculture Monitoring in the Americas regional monitoring effort. 

I am the Deputy Director and Program Manager for the NASA Harvest Program. Within that, lead our initiative on Sustainable and Regenerative Agriculture (SARA).

The geosciences has a long history of racism, exclusion, and harm to Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color. Relatedly, our discipline is sorely lacking participation from these minoritized and marginalized communities. I am committed to using my position as a member of the research faculty to increase diversity, equity, access, and inclusion in our department and our discipline more broadly. In this vein, I serve on the BSOS Anti-Black Racism Initiative, on our Department's Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Anti-Racism Committee, and was a part of our graduate-student led Unlearning Racism in the Geosciences (URGE) Pod. I am not able to be the primary advisor for graduate students, but I welcome interested students to contact me if I might help them enter our field. 

I live and work from Colorado, on Oglala Sioux, Arapaho, and Ute land. I have two young children; it's all for them.

Areas of Interest

  • Agriculture
  • Remote Sensing
  • Sustainability
  • Capacity Development
  • Program Management
  • Policy
  • Viticulture
  • Climate change adaptation and resilience

Degrees

  • Degree Type
    PhD
    Degree Details
    Geographical Sciences; University of Maryland, College Park 2014
  • Degree Type
    BA
    Degree Details
    Geography/Environmental Studies & International Development Studies (double major); University of California, Los Angeles 2007
This is a photo of my face. I am wearing green glasses and I have chin length hair.
4600 River Road, Suite 309C1 (send mail to 2181 LeFrak)
Department of Geographical Sciences
Email
alyssakw [at] umd.edu