twitter facebook linkedin Instagram Google+ webmail

John A. Kelmelis


Professor of International Affairs and Affiliate Law Faculty

(814) 867-2769

Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University 
M.S., University of Missouri at Rolla 
B.A., Central Connecticut State College, magna cum laude

Professor John A. Kelmelis is a scholar of national and international geography who joined Penn State after a thirty-year career of distinguished government service and leadership. He has provided scientific advice on U.S. foreign policy, regional resource management, disaster response, and information infrastructure to the highest levels of U.S. government. He was senior counselor for earth science in the Office of the Science and Technology Advisor to the Secretary of State (STAS), where he provided policy advice to the White House, Department of State, and other high-level government entities on geology, hydrology, biology, geography, and related sciences and technologies in establishing and executing U.S. foreign policy. He concurrently served as senior science advisor for international policy in the Office of the Director, U.S. Geological Survey, where he served as principal staff advisor on incorporating science into international policy. He is a scientist emeritus at U.S. Geological Survey and consults with the Department of State and other organizations.

Professor Kelmelis provides scientific judgment to various organizations and publications. He reviews research proposals for the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the American Geographical Society. Professor Kelmelis has provided scientific and technical leadership to various national and international committees, including the Planning Committee of the Global Dialogue on Emerging Science and Technology 2008 (in Africa), the AFRICOM Transition Team, and the U.S. Department of State Working Group on Populations at Risk.

"Artic warming ripples through Eurasia," in Eurasian Geography and Economics, 2011

“GDEST Africa, geospatial science and technology for sustainable development,” in Bridging the Horizons, New Frontiers in Geospatial Collaboration, Bethesda, MD: American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, 2008

“Organizational impediments to estimating populations and acquiring, assessing, and using population data,” in Tools and methods for estimating populations at risk from natural disasters and complex humanitarian crises, Washington, D.C.: National Research Council, 2007

“Geospatial information response to the Sumatra-Andaman earthquake and tsunami of December 26, 2006,” with L. Schwartz, et al., Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing, 2006

“The Geosciences and Future Foreign Policy,” Geotimes, Nov. 2005

“Critical Infrastructure,” with S. Loomer, in The Geography of Terrorism, S. Cutter, D. Richardson, and T. Wilbanks, eds., New York: Routledge, 2003

“Flood Damage, Risk and Levees in a Changing Environment,” Technology, 2000

“The effect of large river floods on living resources: a case study from the Upper Mississippi River Basin, USA,” U.S.-China Workshop on Natural Disaster Mitigation and Reduction, Beijing, China, 1997 [invited paper]

Science for floodplain management into the 21st Century, ed., Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, five volumes published between 1994-2000