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Northwest Missouri State University

News Release

April 22, 2010

Graduate alumna recognized for GIS thesis

MARYVILLE, Mo. - Melanie Riley, the Northwest Missouri State nominee for the 2010 Distinguished Master's Thesis Award of the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools, has earned an honorable mention for her thesis "Automated Detection of Prehistoric Conical Burial Mounds from LiDar Bare-Earth Digital Elevation Models."

The competition recognizes quality research conducted by candidates for the master's degree at Midwestern institutions in the United States. Entries were judged on clarity, methodology, scholarship and contribution to the field. Fifty-one entries were nominated.

Riley's thesis was chosen as Northwest's Distinguished Master's Thesis for 2009. The Graduate Council then nominated her thesis for consideration for the MAGS award. Riley's thesis marks the first time a Northwest thesis has been honored by MAGS. The competition is open to all member institutions across 14 states in the Midwest region. Each member institution is eligible to nominate one master's thesis from any discipline.

"I was very happy when I received Northwest's outstanding thesis award, and the MAGS honorable mention went far beyond my expectations," Riley said.

Dr. Ming Hung, assistant professor of geosciences, was Riley's thesis advisor. Hung praised Riley for the way she accepted review comments and took those to make her thesis stronger.

"She is a hard-working person, and very self-motivated," Hung said. "Because of her job (at the Office of Iowa State Archaeologist), she has the chance to observe outstanding academic writings and research projects. She takes comments very well, and responds to them very well."

Riley, earned her master's in geographic information science from Northwest in 2009. She is a GIS Specialist for the Iowa Office of the State Archaeologist.

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468