Ying Song receives 2021-23 McKnight Land-Grant Professorship Award

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Congratulations to Dr. Ying Song for being named as a recipient of the 2021-23 McKnight Land-Grant Professorship award! This award recognizes promising junior faculty and is intended to advance the careers of individuals who have the potential to make significant contributions to their departments and their scholarly fields. Dr. Song is an Assistant Professor in Geography, Environment and Society, a MGIS faculty member, and affiliated with the Center for Transportation Studies, Minnesota Population Center and Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA).

Dr. Song’s research centers on geographic information science (GISc), spatiotemporal analysis and modeling, urban transportation, and sustainable development. She is particularly interested in developing new analytical and computational methods to understand human movements and their benefits and costs. During the past three years, she has collaborated with organizations in Minnesota on projects that transform massive movement datasets into knowledge about how people move using public transit and shared mobility services (i.e., Nice Ride Minnesota, HOURCAR). These projects provide valuable insights to multi-modal transportation planning. Her recent research emphasizes the social dimensions of sustainable development. She is collaborating with civil and industrial engineers to develop a GIS-based approach for selecting routes for electrification that account for social benefits in addition to operational and environmental costs.

She will also start to work with planners on two Minnesota Department of Transportation-funded projects that aim to promote equity in transportation planning. One project focuses on the role of gender and identity and the LGBTQ community, and the other will identify and reach out to marginalized communities. Both projects will collect and analyze GPS-enabled travel surveys to better understand the diverse behaviors, needs and experiences of different population groups and communities. Dr. Song has also been building collaborations with scholars in Europe, Asia, North America, and other regions across the global to develop a cross-country comparative framework and consolidate the cultural dimension of geography into geospatial data collection and analysis.

In addition to her impressive research program, Dr. Song teaches a very popular Urban GIS class and the foundational GIS course. She is a dedicated adviser to her undergraduate and graduate students and supervises many MGIS students on their independent GIS projects. She has been working with CURA to identify Resilient Community Projects that fit the scope of her classes, and she always welcomes students to participate in her projects. This mentorship provides students with outstanding opportunities to work on real-world projects that prepare them for successful careers in the profession. She also encourages students to present their semester projects at conferences and other events and build networking skills. Congratulations to Dr. Song on this well-deserved recognition!   

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