Jodi Vender



Jodi has coordinated the Department of Geography's undergraduate and alumni programs since 2005 and assumed directorship of the Gould Center in 2015. Prior to that, she coordinated student programs and service learning for the Schreyer Honors College, taught community college in Philadelphia, and worked for the National Geographic Society's Geography Education, Communication & Advertising, and Editorial Research divisions. She has a B.A. in Spanish from Penn State and discovered geography through general education courses with Professors Emeriti Peirce Lewis and Greg Knight, as well as Honors Thesis research with Glenda Laws. Jodi did a master's in geography at the University of Texas - Austin; one of these years she'll finish her Ph.D. She lives in State College with meteorologist-teacher-husband Jay Searles, children Caroline and Nicholas, and dog Pumpkin.

Research Interests

  • geography education
  • human geography
  • women in the history of geography
  • geographical societies



  • M.A. Geography, University of Texas-Austin - 1993
  • B.A. Spanish, Penn State - 1991

Courses Taught

  • GEOG 398A: Professional Development Seminar in Geography
  • GEOG 495: Internship


  • Vender, J. 2007. “Book Reviews: Adventurers and Geo-facts,” The Geography Teacher, vol. 4, no. 1, March, 46.
  • J. Wellens, J., A. Berardi, B. Chalkley, B. Chambers, R.Healey, J. Monk, and J. Vender. 2006. “Teaching Geography for Social Transformation,” Journal of Geography in Higher Education, March.
  • Vender, J. 2005. “Book Reviews: Maps and Children,” The Geography Teacher, vol. 2, no. 1, March, 46-47.
  • Vender, J. 2004. “Book Reviews: Stories of Map-Makers and Mapping,” The Geography Teacher, vol. 1, no. 1, October, 44-46.
  • Vender, JoAnn C. 2004. “Community Action Research: A Three-Semester Service Learning Course Model,” in Innovations in Undergraduate Research and Honors Education: Proceedings of the Second Schreyer National Conference. Ames, IA: National Collegiate Honors Council.
  • Carubia, Josephine, JoAnn C. Vender, Sara Faber, Soma Kedia, Nicole Sandretto and Adam Tarosky. 2004. “Patterns of Engagement in Service Leadership: First-Year to Senior Year,” in Innovations in Undergraduate Research and Honors Education: Proceedings of the Second Schreyer National Conference. Ames, IA: National Collegiate Honors Council
  • Bednarz, Sarah W., Roger M. Downs and JoAnn C. Vender. 2003. “Geography Education,” in G. Gaile and C. Wilmott (eds.), Geography in America at the Dawn of the 21st Century, pp. 463-478. Oxford University Press.
  • Vender, JoAnn C. 2003. “A Model for Public Scholarship: The Juárez, Mexico Project,” in J. Cohen and L. Yapa (eds.) A Blueprint for the Public Scholarship of Service Learning at Penn State, pp. 45-49. University Park: Penn State Office of Undergraduate Education.
  • Vender, JoAnn C. 2002. Teaching to the Standards: A K-12 Scope and Sequence in Geography Education. Washington, DC: Geographic Education National Implementation Project (GENIP)
  • Wentz, Elizabeth A., JoAnn C. Vender and Cynthia A. Brewer. 1999. “An Evaluation of Teaching Introductory Geomorphology Using Computer-based Tools,” Journal of Geography in Higher Education 23(2), 167-179.
  • Vender, Jodi and Trudy Suchan. 1998. “Software Review: QSR NUD*IST and ATLAS/ti,” Cartographic Perspectives, 31(Fall), 37-40.
  • Vender, JoAnn C. 1994. “Culture, Place, and School: Improving Primary Education in Rural Ecuador,” Yearbook, Conference of Latin Americanist Geographers, 1994, 20, 107-119.




  • Penn State WISE Institute Recognition Award - Staff Category, 2011
  • Penn State Excellence in Advising Award, 2009
  • Penn State Department of Geography Outstanding Staff Award, 2008
  • Pennsylvania Geographical Society Special Recognition Award for Distinguished Service in Geography Education, 2003
  • National Council for Geographic Education Women in Geographic Education Scholarship, 1999
  • Association of American Geographers Latin American Specialty Group Student Paper Award, 1993
  • Penn State University Ralph Dorn Hetzel Award, 1991


  • Penn State Women in Science and Engineering Institute Staff Recognition Award - 2011
  • Penn State Excellence in Advising Award - 2009