About Melinda

Melinda Laituri received her PhD from the University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona in geography. Her dissertation research focused on environmental equity and groundwater resources in the American Southwest and the US-Mexico border. Her other degrees are in Hydrology (M.A., California State University, 1985) and Geography (B.A., University of California, Berkeley, 1979). Dr. Laituri accepted a post doc at the University of Auckland, New Zealand where she then served as a lecturer in a tenure track position for three years. She is a Fulbright Scholar and a Rachel Carson Fellow. Dr. Laituri is the Director of the Geospatial Centroid at CSU (gis.colostate.edu) that provides information about GIS activities, education, and outreach at CSU and in Colorado. Dr. Laituri loves to teach and considers it one of the greatest privileges and challenges of being a professor. Undergraduate courses that she has taught include: Geography of Water Resources, Geography of Hazards, Introduction to Geography, Physical Geography, Cultural Geography, and Environmental Geography. She also teaches Ecological Measurements during the summer at CSU’s mountain campus – definitely, my favorite teaching


  • I am keenly interested in the intersections and boundaries of human activities, physical processes, and ecosystems. Water, ecosystems, and sustainability are inextricably linked across multiple scales. The Department of Ecological Science and Sustainability focuses on understanding the challenges of the 21st Century as related to achieving a healthy environment. The faculty is made up of cutting edge scientists addressing critical issues in ecosystem science and creating tangible sustainable solutions. This is an exciting place to be at this juncture in addressing and solving complex environmental issues. My research spans several different areas. I have worked with indigenous peoples throughout the world on issues related to natural resource management and water resource issues using geographic information systems (GIS) that utilize cultural and eco-physical data in research models. A key focus is participatory GIS where indigenous peoples develop spatial information and maps essential for their management of their own resources. Other research work focuses on the role of the Internet and geospatial technologies of disaster management and cross-cultural environmental histories of river basin management. I have research activities and GIS training in Botswana, Vietnam, Mongolia, Uganda, the Yukon River Basin, and the Colorado River Basin.


Ph.D. , - University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ, 1993

M.A., - California State University
Chico, CA , 1985

B.A. , - University of California
Berkeley, CA, 1979

Awards, Honors, Grants

  • Rachel Carson Fellow, Munich, Germany, 2011
  • Fulbright Scholar, Botswana, 2010
  • Distinguished Teacher and Advisor Award, Warner College of Natural Resources, 2008
  • Nomination for N. Preston Davis Award for Instructional Innovation, CSU, 2007
  • Fulbright Senior Scholar, PE Tachnikon, Port Elizabeth, South Africa, 2004