Geography & GIS assistant professors Marynia Kolak and Mark Lara are among seventeen faculty members recognized this year for contributions in research and education at Illinois.

The LEAP award is presented to early-career faculty in recognition of their scholarly productivity and contributions to the educational mission of their departments and the College of LAS. These scholars hold the title for two years and receive discretionary research funding each year.

Dr. Kolak is a health geographer and spatial epidemiologist focused on human-centered design approaches to regional and neighborhood health equity. She joined the department in Fall 2022. 

Dr. Lara, whose home department is plant biology, uses satellite remote sensing and machine learning techniques to study how Arctic permafrost systems are responding to climate change and its associated environmental disturbances. Lara joined Plant Biology and Geography & GIS in Fall 2019.

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