This Fall professor Stephen Young (geography and sustainability) was a “Visiting Expert and International Advisor” at the Al-Farabi Kazakh National University (KazNU) in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Professor Young worked in KazNU’s Geography Department, which has over 1,000 undergraduate majors, as well as Master’s and Ph. D. students in the 23,000-student university. According to the Times (UK) Higher Education Asia University Rankings 2023, KazNU is ranked as the number one university in Central Asia and in the top 50 in all of Asia.
Professor Young gave lectures to graduate students and faculty about climate change and the use of satellites and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for sustainability. Professor Young worked on research proposals and projects of faculty and graduate students. Professor Young is the official international advisor for 5 Ph. D. students including one, Assel Ospan, from the Department of Artificial Intelligence & Big Data. Ms. Ospan was a Visiting Scholar at SSU in the spring of 2019 working with Dr. Young on her Ph. D. research into the creation and coordination between multiple big data sets concerning water quality and quantity in southeastern Kazakhstan.
Some additional research projects that Professor Young is involved in with KazNU includes mapping mining dust from space, how to model future land degradation across Kazakhstan with satellite data, and modeling the spatial distribution of Kazakhstan’s human capital. Professor Young recently published a journal article (The impact of the transformation of the economy of the Republic of Kazakhstan on the reproduction of human capital: socio-economic aspect.) with his KazNU Ph.D. student Gaukhar Berikkyzy. In November professor Young presented the paper: Sustainability at Salem State University at the International Scientific and Practical Conference "GEOGRAPHICAL FOUNDATIONS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT" at KazNU. Sustainability and climate change are major emerging fields at the University.
In addition to giving lectures and working in labs, professor Young also spent weeks in the field trekking from yurt to yurt in the high alpine valleys of the Tien Shan mountains. Professor Young’s visit deepens the relationship between KazNU and SSU with future possibilities of graduate and undergraduate students coming to SSU for classes and researchers working at SSU as “Visiting Scholars.”