Rui Zhang

Rui  Zhang
  • Ph.D. Student
  • Dual Major, Modeling Certificate
  • Geography, Environment and Spatial Sciences
  • College of Social Science


I am a Ph.D. student in the Department of Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences, working with Dr. Arika Ligmann-Zielinska. I am interested in using spatial explicit modeling approaches, especially Agent-based Modeling (ABM) to simulate land use/cover change and coupled human and natural systems (CHANS). I got my master degree from George Mason University’s MAIS (Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies) program with a concentration on CSS (Computational Social Science). I worked on an agricultural land use model of the Poyang Lake Region (PLR) in China during my master's program. The model simulates how geographic and economic factors influence agricultural land use change in PLR, and indicates how government policy can play a role in this process through the design of various modeling scenarios. The research I am doing recently is to build an ABM to simulate the influences of road constructions on land cover types and aquatic ecosystems in a remote area — Regio´n Auto´noma de la Costa Caribe Sur (RACCS) of Nicaragua. At the same time, I am working as a research assistant at the Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability (CSIS) of MSU on developing Telecoupling Toolbox, which is a suite of geospatial software tools and apps for socioeconomic and environmental analysis on CHANS from local to global scales.