ICS@PSU: Institute for CyberScience

News Archive

Published on February 24, 2017

Student researches tea plantation loss

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — For Zongjun Li, a junior majoring in geography at Penn State, the chance to explore real-life opportunities with his degree is what drives him as an undergraduate student.

“It’s important to me to take the knowledge from our textbooks and bring it to life out in the real world,” Li said.

Raised in Guangzhou, China, Li, who is majoring in geographic information science (GIS), has always been fascinated by the applications of the geography major.

“I think people don’t always know just how many different areas you can explore and conduct research in with a geography degree,” he said.

Li was introduced to some of the research opportunities during a new student recruiting meeting at the Tea Institute at Penn State.

Located in 34 Ritenour Building on the University Park campus, the Tea Institute, which is composed of the Tea House and the Research Institute, aims to teach and preserve all aspects of tea culture and science by serving as the foremost center of tea knowledge in the English-speaking world.

“The Tea Institute is split into three main branches: Korean, Chinese and Japanese,” said Li, who is now the executive director of the Tea Institute. “Each branch collaborates with different institutions like the Gunagzhou Academy of Fine Arts (China), the Cha Ren Ya Xin Culture and Arts Association (Taiwan), Inje University (South Korea), and Urasenka and Omotsenke (Japan), and hosts events to educate the Penn State community about tea culture.”

The Tea House also serves hand-picked teas to the public during the week. The revenue generated by this is then used to fund undergraduate research opportunities within the Tea Institute.

“We encourage our members to become so-called ‘advanced members’ by passing a series of requirements,” Li said.

The requirements include taking an examination and conducting research, which, for Li, focuses on analyzing tea plantations across the world.

“I’ve been trying to develop a model that can identify the tea plantations from various vegetation,” said Li. “Right now, we’re trying to calibrate the model to apply it to all the plantations in Taiwan specifically. Sometimes the model confuses tea plantations with other vegetation in the vicinity, and we want to be better at refining data. We’re planning to take into account other changes in landscape, such as landslides and reforestations, so that we will have a more comprehensive and accurate understanding of the shrinkage of tea plantations in the area.”

Li’s research is important for understanding the environmental impacts of soil erosion caused by overplanting in Taiwan.

Li has been conducting his research under the guidance of Guido Cervone, associate professor of geography and associate director for the Institute for CyberScience.

“Dr. Cervone and I have been conducting most of our research at the Institute of Cyberscience at Penn State, but I visited Taiwan during the past two winter breaks to collect field data,” said Li. “I’ve enjoyed using my skills from the classroom to dig into questions and problems. I can always find out something new.”

Li has enjoyed the ability to share his research through the Tea Institute.

“It has been a really wonderful experience working on this research with the help of the Tea Institute,” he said. “Hopefully this will take us to a new understanding of how tea plantation evolution correlates with its environment, and what factors policymakers should take into account to protect our world.”

Visitors can learn more about tea culture and sample tea at the Penn State Tea House in 34 Ritenour from noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday.

Penn State Institute for CyberScience

Help us build the future. Contact ICS at Penn State.

  • email: ics@psu.edu
  • phone: ICS-ACI Support (i-ASK Center): 814-865-4275 | General Inquiries: 814-867-1467

February 2018

  • Feb 7, 2018 - Feb 8, 201811:00 am - 5:00 pm

    XSEDE HPC Monthly Workshop Series: Big Data

    XSEDE, along with the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, is p…

    More Info
  • Feb 7, 20181:30 pm - 3:00 pm

    Understanding the Language-Learning Brain through Computational Methods

    How does the brain respond to language-learning experiences?…

    More Info
  • Feb 27, 20188:30 am - 2:00 pm

    Interdisciplinary Security Research Workshop

    The Penn State Center for Security Research and Education pr…

    More Info
  • Feb 8, 20184:00 pm - 5:15 pm

    International Law Under President Trump: A One-Year Assessment

    John Bellinger, partner at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer …

    More Info
  • Feb 9, 20184:00 pm

    Jacob Chakareski, “Drone IoT Networks for Virtual Human Teleportation”

    Jacob Chakareski, assistant professor of electrical and comp…

    More Info
  • Feb 12, 20181:30 pm - 2:30 pm

    SoDa Introduction to Data Science with R Workshop Series

    This workshop series will help you develop the skills to pro…

    More Info
  • Feb 26, 20184:00 pm - 5:30 pm

    ICS Data Visualization Workshop: Intro to Developing D3.js Projects

    Want to learn how to create innovative visualizations of you…

    More Info
  • Feb 19, 20181:30 pm - 2:30 pm

    SoDA Workshop Series: Scraping Twitter

    In the digital age, Twitter is becoming a platform that can …

    More Info
  • Feb 26, 20181:30 pm - 2:30 pm

    SoDA Workshop Series: Advanced Web Scraping

    There are vast amounts of data on the internet, and research…

    More Info