Ruthie Burrows

PhD student in Geography

About Me

I am a PhD student in the Department of Geography, Environment, and Society at

the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. I am also a trainee with the Minnesota Population Center population studies training program. My PhD research focuses on the effects of climate variability on seasonal food production and child food insecurity in West Africa. I am also working with Dr. Kathryn Grace on the Digital and Geospatial Tools Consortium as a part of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sustainable Intensification (SIIL) funded through USAID.


I primarily use remote-sensed imagery, gridded climate data, and population data from the Demographic and Health Surveys to explore my research questions. I particularly like to think about the spatial and temporal frameworks for merging environmental and population data. Recently, I have taken a special interest in applying  Agent-Based Modeling to population environment research questions. Most of my research is done in R, but I occasionally work and am familiar with ArcGIS and NetLogo. 

Prior to the start of my PhD studies, I received masters degrees in Epidemiology and GIS both from Johns Hopkins University. It was here that I learned the statistical and geospatial foundations for much of my current work. During most of my time at Johns Hopkins University, I was a research assistant at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future where I worked on a variety of projects related to local food systems and sustainable agriculture in Baltimore, MD.