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Geographers on the Market: Yanan (Nancy) Li

NancyLiYanan “Nancy” Li
Department of Geography
University of Tennessee


Yanan recieved her Ph.D. in geography with research interests in glacial geomorphology and paleoclimatology. She is also equipped with technical skills in terrain analysis, statistics, and remote sensing. Yanan completed her B.S. degree in Geosciences at Beijing Normal University, China. She came to the University of Tennessee for graduate study in Geography in 2008. She focused on dendrochronology during the M.S. program, and her thesis is titled “Dendroclimatic analysis of climate oscillations for the southeastern US from tree-ring network data”. Continued with her doctoral program, Yanan expands her study to geomorphology and Geospatial skills. Her dissertation research is entitled “Timing and Extent of the Little Ice Age (LIA) Glacial Advances in Central-Eastern Tian Shan, China”. Specifically, she will 1) map the glacial extents during the LIA and at present, 2) date the putative LIA moraines using cosmogenic nuclide dating, 3) statistically analyze the influence of topographic factors on glacier changes, and 4) examine the influence of climate systems on the spatio-temporal pattern of LIA glacial advances in Tian Shan. She plans to graduate in May 2015. By now, she has received several grants and awards at department, university, and national levels, including a National Geographic Young Explorers Grant and a NSF Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant.

Yanan is a nature-lover, and throughout the years majoring in geography, she is enthusiastic about field works including rivers, forests, or high mountains. She enjoys gaining knowledge from other people and applying knowledge in the real world. She has been worked as teaching assistant and research assistant in the department. Her interaction with students in classes and labs are effective and was reviewed as “wonderful”. Besides, Yanan positively participates in departmental events and outreach activities in public communities. In her spare time, Yanan enjoys music, books, various kinds of sports, hiking, thinking, and playing with her two cats.

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