- Cartography and Mapping
- Appalachian Geography
- Geography of Virginia
- Geography of Tea
- Physical & Biogeography
My specialties as an instructor include cartography and mapping, as well as regional geographies. As a native of the Appalachian region, I am particularly interested in understanding human-environment interactions in central and southern Appalachia. This came to fruition as a master’s thesis which focused on wildland fire behavior and the spatial distribution of charcoal after a fire in the southern Appalachians.
My teaching philosophy is based around that idea that students in my classes should 1) learn something relevant to their everyday lives, 2) practice a skill that they can apply in their careers, and 3) have fun in that process! My courses fall into two areas: regional geography (Appalachia, Virginia, and Tea), and geospatial skills (Cartography, and Maps and Mapping). I also believe strongly in outreach, especially to aid in the understanding of the Appalachian region. To apply this philosophy, I teach annual classes on Virginia’s geology and biogeography for the New River and Roanoke Valley chapters of the Virginia Master Naturalist Program, and have led field experiences for high school teachers into the coalfields and Appalachian plateau of Virginia.
Beyond regional geography, my main areas of publication include printed cartographic products and custom maps for user groups (see Cartographic Work below). I have published several maps in recent years, most of which are black and white for print, and others in digital format. I am always excited to teach new skills to our students, and enjoy fulfilling requests for new mapping projects!
Courses Recently Taught:
- Maps and Mapping (GEOG 2314)
- Geography of Tea (GEOG 2784)
- Geography of Appalachia (GEOG 3224)
- Geography of Virginia (GEOG 3234)
- Cartography (GEOG 3314)
Recent Publications & Conferences:
- Gregory, E., Scales, S., and Crawford, T. 2019. Tracking Food Deserts along the Transamerica Cycling Route: Northern Tier. Poster. SEDAAG Conference.
- Woelk, T., Scales, S., and Balister, P. 2019. Understanding the Public Usage of New River Cave. Presentation. National Speleological Society Meeting, Cookeville, TN.
- Scales, S., Satterwhite, E., and August, A. 2018. “Mapping Appalachia’s Boundaries: Historiographic Overview and Digital Collection,” Journal of Appalachian Studies 24:1 (Spring 2018): 89-100.
- Scales, S., Ellington, M., Howk, J., Mills, M., Sloan, J. 2017. Geography of Appalachia: Strategies for Teaching, Featuring Student Projects. Presentation. Appalachian Studies Association Conference. Blacksburg, VA.
- Scales, S. 2017. Mapping Appalachia: A Beginner's Hands-On Introduction to Creating County Maps Using Appalachian Regional Commission Data and ArcGIS Software. Workshop. Appalachian Studies Association Conference, Blacksburg, VA.
- Poison Ivy Distribution Map - Virginia's Appalachian Trail. A regional-scale map of the A.T. showing the occurrence of poison ivy. To be published as a reference in a journal article. ·
- Virginia Food Banks. A county-scale map of Virginia’s Food Bank Regions, produced by undergraduates, Abby England and Jarek Campbell and supervised by me.
- Locator map of Petrified Forest National Park. A map produced as an undergraduate honors project by Michael Mellett, supervised by me.
- Bathymetry of Deep Creek Lake. In progress, to be published at the request of residents around Deep Creek Lake, MD
- Glacier National Park Locator Map. 2019. Published for a fellow faculty member to be used in an upcoming article on the park.
- Crewe, Virginia Cemeteries. 2019. Contacted by the town of Crewe, VA to digitize their cemetery plots as part of a larger project for the town.
- “Mapping Appalachia: A Digital Collection” https://www.mapappalachia.geography.vt.edu/
- “Cumberland Gap: First Gateway West.” 2018. Produced a map suite highlighting Cumberland Gap, the region’s physical geology, a general reference map, and driving distance map.
- “Eastern Hemisphere & Southeast Asia.” 2018. To be published as reference maps in a monograph.
- Hiking and Outdoor Recreation in Western Virginia. Google Maps, 2017.
- Core Appalachia. 2017. Study area map produced for the Ecological and Human Health in Rural Communities Project, Virginia Tech.
- Appalachian Regional Maps: Loose, Consensus, and Core regions as defined by J.A. Williams. Produced for the Appalachian Studies Department, Virginia Tech.
- “Southwest Virginia.” 2017. Reference maps produced for use by the VA Geographic Alliance. Featured topography and significant points in the region.