270-745- 5982

Western Kentucky University CHNGES

1906 College Heights Blvd., EST 304

Bowling Green, KY 42101

CHNGES is a Center of Excellence
within the WKU Applied Research and Technology Program. We are housed in the WKU Dept of Geography and Geology.

DR. JASON S. POLK | DIRECTOR

Dr. Jason Polk is the Director of CHNGES and humble servant of many a grad student and staff member within the Center. He earned a Ph.D. from the University of South Florida and is often found underground, on a glacier, or in some remote location working to live the academic dream. His research includes karst environments, climate change, water resources, isotope geochemistry, and environmental geoscience issues. Dr. Jason Polk enjoys traveling, caving, and photography and aspires to someday open the first sustainable auto repair center called the Truck Doctor actually owned and operated by a Dr. (of sorts)! He can be reached at jason.polk@wku.edu or (270)-745-5015. 

DR. LESLIE A. NORTH | ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR FOR EDUCATION & OUTREACH

Dr. Leslie North is the Associate Director for Education and Outreach at CHNGES. She earned her Ph.D. in Geography and Environmental Science and Policy from the University of South Florida. Her research and teaching interests include karst environments, water resources, climate change communication, informal science education, nature-based tourism, sustainability, and mobile and stationary eye-tracking technology…she’s watching you! In her free time, she enjoys traveling, spending time outdoors, relaxing at a spa, shoe shopping, and being mom to her four Chihuahuas. She is a true native Floridian, representing the 6th generation born and raised in the state! Of course, with those roots, she’s our expert on Disney, beaches, and fresh oranges! Contact her at leslie.north@wku.edu or (270) 745-5982.

DR. PAT KAMBESIS | ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR FOR SCIENCE & EXPLORATION

Pat Kambesis was born and raised on the south side of Chicago, but eventually escaped to a speleologically-nomadic existence in various places of the US. She now calls Cave City, Kentucky her home. Kambesis earned a BS degree in Biology from the University of Illinois and a BS in Geology from Southern Illinois University.  She did her MSc graduate work at Western Kentucky University on contaminant source and transport in a Iowian karst groundwater basin. Her Ph.D. was completed at Mississippi State University on geological controls on coastal karst formation. She holds a graduate certificate in Geographical Information Systems and has earned GISProfessional status. Her current research interests include all aspects of coastal karst, geomorphology of karst regions, speleogenetic controls on cave morphology, hydrogeology of pseudokarst (lava tubes), and effects of condensation corrosion on cave passage development. In addition to the physical side of caves and karst, Kambesis also researches methods in cave documentation, cave rock art, use of caves in military conflict, and evolution of cave survey and cartography. At heart she is a cave bum who has parlayed her exploration passion into a profession. Contact info: pat.kambesis@wku.edu.

BERNIE STRENECKY | ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR FOR COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMS

Dr. Bernard J. Strenecky earned his doctorate from the University of Rochester in Curriculum Design with concentrations in medical education, international studies, and literacy education. He has taught in the Schools of Medicine and Education at the University of Louisville, and served as Faculty and Coordinator of service learning in the Semester at Sea program. During the past 10 years, he has served as the Scholar in Residence at Western Kentucky University where he is responsible for programs in Service Learning and Comparative International Education. Dr. Strenecky serves as the Honorary Consul from Barbados to Kentucky and is a member of the Century Club, an organization reserved for individuals who have worked or traveled to over 100 countries. Fun fact…he has circumnavigated the globe onboard the Semester at Sea ship multiple times!

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