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Patricia Solis

Executive Director, Knowledge Exchange for Resilience at ASU
Academic Prof w/Admin Appt, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 5302

Patricia Solís, PhD, is Executive Director of the Knowledge Exchange for Resilience at Arizona State University, a campus-wide effort to link multi-sector community needs with research innovations in building community resilience. The effort is funded by a generous grant from the Virginia G. Piper Trust, and engages a multi-disciplinary team of 20 community and academic fellows, 5 cross cutting design scholars, a team of 5 research professors, and a crew of 20 or so full time staff and graduate student assistants. She also holds research faculty privileges in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning. 

She is Co-Founder and Director of YouthMappers, a rapidly-growing consortium of student-led chapters on more than 185 university campuses in 45 countries who create and use open spatial data for humanitarian and development needs in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development, the main co-founding sponsor. The network enjoys partners from the non-profit and private sector as well.

Prior to joining ASU, she was Co-Director of the Center for Geospatial Technology at Texas Tech University and Research Associate Professor of Geography in the Department of Geosciences and affiliated with the TTU Climate Science Center. She served Deputy Director and Director of Research at the American Association of Geographers. Dr. Solís received a BS in Physics, BA in German, and MA in Geography from Kansas State University.  She earned her Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Iowa where she was a Presidential Fellow.  

Solís has developed and executed more than 50 competitive research programs, 80% of them as lead or PI, with funding totaling ~ $18M, promoting innovations in research, education and community collaboration with support from federal agencies such as the US National Science Foundation, the US State Department, NASA, NOAA, US Geological Survey, USAID, and others. Her research focuses on designing experiences for exchanges of knowledge, fellowships, and applications of open geospatial technologies to address socially relevant challenges, from water resource conflict to climate change induced hazards to broadening participation in higher education. Her creative leadership has resulted in the development of collaborative and participatory research methodologies, youth-engaged peer exchanges, new designs for research-centered learning, and the sustained institutionalization of public-private partnerships centered on using digital geographic technologies. 

Her international experience includes fostering north-south and south-south academic networks among emerging scholars in sixty countries across Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.  These efforts have been recognized by the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development as a model program.  She also serves as the elected and State-Department appointed President of the Geography Commission of the PanAmerican Institute for Geography and History of the Organization of American States, and has been honored with the designation of National Researcher II from Panama and twice the Enlaces Award for academic collaboration with Latin America. She is named as a Specialist on the Fulbright Commissions’ Roster of Experts and served with the Politecnico Instituto di Milano in 2018. She was recognized as Geospatial Volunteer of the Year for the State of Arizona by the Arizona Geographic Information Council in 2019.


1998 – 2002     PhD in Geography, University of Iowa

1994 - 1996     Master of Arts in Geography, Kansas State University

1989 - 1994     Bachelor of Science in Physics, Bachelor of Arts in German, Kansas State University

1992 - 1993     Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH), Zürich, Switzerland



Solís, Patricia, Brent McCusker, Nwasinachi Menkiti, Nuala Cowan, and Chad Blevins. 2018. Engaging Global Youth in Participatory Spatial Data Creation for the UN Sustainable Development Goals: The Case of Open Mapping for Malaria Prevention.Applied Geography 98:143-155.  DOI: 10.1016/j.apgeog.2018.07.013. 

​Solís, Patricia, Niem Tu Huynh, Philippe Huot, Marcela Zeballos, Astrid Ng, and Nwasinachi Menkiti. 2018. Results of an Overdetermined Design for High School Girls’ Learning in Geospatial Technologies for Climate Change.International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education. DOI: 10.1080/10382046.2018.1513447.

Solís, Patricia, Niem Tu Huynh, Daniel Carpenter, Maria Adames de Newbill, and Lynn Ojeda. 2017. Using an Authentic Project Based Learning Framework to support Integrated Geography Education linked to Standards and Geospatial Competencies. Special Issue on Transformative Research in Geographic Education, Research in Geographic Education19(2):36-65.

Solís Patricia, Jenni Vanos and Robert Forbis. 2017. The Decision-making / Accountability Spatial Incongruence Problem for Research linking Science and Policy.  The Geographical Review107(4): 680-704. DOI: 10.1111/gere.12240.

Solís, Patricia, Marie Price, and María Adames de Newbill. 2015. Building Collaborative Research Opportunities into Study Abroad Programs: A Case Study from Panama. Journal of Geography in Higher Education.39(1):51-64. DOI: 10.1080/03098265.2014.996849.

Hawthorne, Timothy, Patricia Solís, Brittney Terry, Marie Price, and Christopher L. Atchison. 2015.  Critical Reflection Mapping as a Hybrid Methodology for Examining Socio-Spatial Perceptions of New Research Sites. Annals of the Association of American Geographers105(1):22-47.

Solís, Patricia and Inés M. Miyares.  2014. Rethinking Practices for Enhancing Diversity in the Discipline.  Featured FOCUS section on Diversity, Inclusion, and Participation in Geography: The Professional Geographer 66(2):169-172.DOI:10.1080/00330124.2012.735920.ISSN: 0033-0124.

Adams, Joy, Patricia Solís and Jean McKendry. 2014. The Landscape of Diversity in U.S. Higher Education Geography. The Professional Geographer 66(2):183-194.DOI:10.1080/00330124.2012.735935. ISSN: 0033-0124.

Solís, Patricia, Joy Adams, Leslie Duram, Susan Hume, Al Kuslikis, Victoria Lawson, Inés M. Miyares, David Padgett, Alex Ramirez. 2014. Diverse Experiences in Diversity at the Geography Department Scale.  The Professional Geographer66(2):205-220.DOI:10.1080/00330124.2012.735940. ISSN: 0033-0124.

Solís, Patricia, et al.  2011. Climate Change and Hazards in the Americas: International Interdisciplinary Research Directions and Opportunities. Washington, DC: Association of American Geographers. Translated and co-authored in Spanish as Cambio Climático y Riesgos en las Américas: Directrices y oportunidades de investigación interdisciplinaria internacional. ISBN 0615408338.  

Solís, Patricia.  2009.  Preparing Competitive Research Grant Proposals.  Chapter in Aspiring Academics:  A Resource Book for Graduate Students and Early Career Faculty*, M. Solem, K. Foote, J. Monk (Editors).  Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Prentice-Hall, p. 137-164 ISBN-10:0136048919.

Solís, Patricia.  2005.  Geographic Learning for Sustainable Development.  Chapter in Handbook of Sustainability Research: A contribution from the World Academic Community to the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development,Walter L. Filho (Editor).  Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang GmbH, pp. 679-704. ISBN 0-8204-7308-1.  

Solís, Patricia.  2005.  Water as Rural Heritage: Reworking Modernity through Resource Conflict in Edwards County, Kansas.  Journal of Rural Studies, Volume21, Issue 1, pp. 55-66.ISSN: 0743-0167.

Research Activity


2018-23     Executive Director, Knowledge Exchange for Resilience, a university-community initiative to identify, create, and share the knowledge, experience, and connections to make Maricopa County a national paradigm for building resilient communities through social cohesion, economic prosperity, and environmental security. Principal Investigator Dr. Elizabeth Wentz, Arizona State University. 

2018-23     Principal Investigator, YouthMappers® University Consortium: Building Open Spatial Data for Economic Development and Community Resilience, a study to economic development and community resilience by supporting university students through the rapidly-growing YouthMappers consortium, at the time of award on 120 campuses in 38 countries, to create and use high-quality geospatial data in places of interest to USAID. Emphasis of the effort includes understanding the impact of open mapping on development outcomes, expansion of the student humanitarian movement and quality attribute mapping, and focused efforts on the Let Girls Mapcampaign to address needs of female mappers and women in developing regions. Consortium of Arizona State University, Texas Tech University, West Virginia University, The George Washington University and the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team. Awarded by US Agency for International Development, $1,100,000.

2018-21     Principal Investigator, How the Crowdsourced Spatial Data Revolution is Being Used to Complement Official Data (submitted as Blind Spots and Blank Spots: Filling in Knowledge to Harness the Crowdsourced Spatial Data Revolution), a study to advance understanding about the role of open, volunteered spatial data to produce knowledge needed by public institutions for building resilient communities and infrastructure by integrating volunteered spatial data into official cartographies in the US, Mexico and Central America. Awarded by National Science Foundation, Science, Technology and Society Program, $359,244.

2018-20     Principal Investigator, Informal Learning Pathways through Mapathons for Military and Veteran Communities, a study to assess the potential for informal learning events with geospatial technology in the form of mapathons to support military and veteran learners or students to make bridges between competency skills they acquired in service settings and what they can apply in settings related to desired transitions to STEM higher education opportunities or to the civilian workforce. Awarded by National Science Foundation, Advancing Informal STEM Learning, $299,689.

2015-19     Principal Investigator, Mapping for Resilience University Consortium of three founding universities: Texas Tech University, George Washington University (CoPI Nuala Cowan), and West Virginia University (CoPI Brent McCusker), to cultivate a generation of young people to become leaders in creating resilient communities and empowering them to define their world by mapping it.  Program objectives include supporting and engaging students and other university actors in creating new, quality, localized geospatial data in unmapped places of the world, ensuring that the new data is open and accessible to the public, and conducting research and analysis using OSM data to address international development challenges. In its first 2 years of network buildingYouthMappers, the consortium grew to 99 universities in 30 countries and made more than 20 million map edits for projects such as disaster relief in Ecuador, malaria prevention in Mozambique and Kenya, food security in Ghana and Bangladesh, and peace building in Colombia. Funded by the US Agency for International Development, $999,000.  

Fall 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
GIS 499Individualized Instruction
GIS 684Internship
Work History

2018 – present, Executive Director, Knowledge Exchange for Resilience, Arizona State University

2015 – present, Co-Founder and Director, YouthMappers

2014 – 2018, Research Associate Professor of Geography, Department of Geosciences (now adjunct); Co-Director, Center for Geospatial Technology, College of Arts and Sciences; Adjunct Associate Professor, Climate Science Center; Senior Research Associate, Research Development Team, Office of the Vice President for Research, Texas Tech University

2003 - 2014, Director of Outreach and Strategic Initiatives, Director of Research and Outreach, and Deputy Director, Association of American Geographers


President, (Elected), PanAmerican Geography Commission of the PanAmerican Institute of Geography and History of the Organization of American States (OAS), scientific diplomatic appointment by the US Department of State

Fulbright Specialist, Roster of Experts, World Learning

Editorial Board, Professional Geographer, Geographical Review

Voting Member (elected), Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team