Doctor of Philosophy (ABD), Florida State University; Tallahassee, Fla.
Geography. 2016- 2018 (ABD)
Dissertation working title: Using Native American Sitescapes to Extend the North American Paleotempestological Record through Coupled Remote Sensing and Climatological Analysis. No degree awarded.

Master of Science, Louisiana State University; Baton Rouge, La.
Geography, Mass Communication. May 2014.
Thesis title: Quantifying the Impact of Hurricanes, Mid-Latitude Cyclones and Other Weather and Climate Extreme Events on the Mississippi-Alabama Barrier Islands Using Remotely Sensed Data

Bachelor of Arts, Syracuse University; Syracuse, New York.
Geography, Journalism. Cum Laude. August 2012.
Focus points: Natural Hazards, Environmental Science, GIS and Remote Sensing, Print Journalism


Awards for work on COVID-19

Nominee for the 2021 John Maddox Prize, Nature and Sense about Science
Finalist, DAMA International 2021 Data Management Excellence Awards
Forbes’ 2020 Technology Person of the Year
Winner, Samuel Lawrence Foundation Prize (2020)
Elemental’s 50 Experts to Trust During a Pandemic.
Fortune Magazine’s 40 Under 40 (2020) in Healthcare


Winner, ESRI Story map competition, Seven Hills Region User Group, Third Place. Tallahassee, Fla.
Grant Award, Florida State University, Graduate Research Grant, Annual; $1,000;
Grant Award, The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine: “Multidisciplinary knowledge integration to support Louisiana coastal indigenous communities’ response to natural and technological disasters and adaptation to climate change.” GIS Research and grant co-author, $312,000
Grant Award, Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Rockefeller Foundation’s National Disaster Resilience Competition, Relocation and Settlement of the Isle de Jean Charles Band of the Biloxi-Chitimacha Tribe, Researcher, grant co-author and advisor, $48,000,000
Grant Award, West-Russell Field Research Grant: “Catastrophism, Gradualism and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.” $500
Winner, First Place, Gilbert F. White Thesis/Dissertation Award from the Hazards, Risks and Disasters Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers, Annual Conference; San Francisco, Ca.
Winner, First place, Graduate Student Paper Presentation Contest, Paleo-environmental Change Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers, Annual Conference; Tampa.
Winner, Second Place, and Audience Favorite, Three Minute Thesis Competition, Louisiana State University (University-wide)
Winner, First Place, Graduate student poster competition, Southwestern Division of the Association of American Geographers 2013 Annual Conference; Nacogdoches, Texas
Dean Appointment to the Louisiana State University Transition Advisory Committee, one of two graduate students representing the student body.
2007-2010: Student-elected representative to the Syracuse University Newhouse School of Public Communication Council, 2007-2010
2006: Outstanding Delegate Award, Addressing the Specter of Global Warming, Gannon University, United Nations Conference.


Florida COVID Action, Tallahassee, Fla.
June 2020 – June 2021, Founder

  • End-to-end management of project, from data to web design and outreach/ communications, press and more.
  • Assembled public datasets of COVID-19 data from all available resources, including the Florida Department of Health, Department of Emergency Management, Agency for Healthcare Administration, Department of Corrections, and Department of Law Enforcement, to create a single, primary resource for Florida
  • Conducted statistical analysis, wrote posts and op-eds for The Palm Beach Post and The Miami Herald, and multiple media outlets regarding trends and statistics
  • Created a successful, popular, alternative resource for COVID-19 information following failure of state leadership to provide data transparently

The COVID Monitor, Tallahassee, Fla.
July 2020 – March 2020 Co-founder, director

  • Co-founder of the national tracking and reporting data system for COVID-19 cases in K-12 schools, in partnership with Google and FinMango
  • Designed data systems, interface, and mapping products for site; published API feeds; managed outreach and recruitment for contributors, including Johns Hopkins University, The New York Times, and others
  • Managed publicity and press, conducting dozens of interviews within weeks of the project’s launch, ranging from prime-time with Chris Cuomo to independent media like Staying Home with Josh Fox on The Young Turks.
  • Published research on statistics and trends in case data for Florida schools

PlaceFund, Washington, D.C.
May 2020 – July 2020, Geospatial and Epidemiological Consultant

  • COVID-19 data surveillance, coding, application development and consulting with PlaceFund for the East African Community Dashboard
  • CommonHealth, COVIDCheck integration with dynamic feeds, including Google Mobility and World Health Organization
  • Staff training and development

Florida Department of Health, Division of Disease Control and Health Protection, Bureau of Emergency Preparedness and Response, Bureau of Environmental Health, Tallahassee, Fla. August 2019 – May 2020: SES GIS Manager

  • Department lead for emergency planning and response with geospatial science and systems, including hurricane planning and response, epidemiological surveillance and response (COVID-19, Influenza, Hepatitis A, HIV/AIDS), and environmental health (water quality, toxic algae, Vibrio, Red Tide, well surveillance, more).
    • Designed, built and managed the Florida COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard as a one-person team, from data querying, processing, and formatting, to Python and R scripting and updates, web design and HTML/JAVA scripting, and data publishing through GeoJSON and API live feeds.
    • Department lead for research and analysis with geospatial science for public health, including issues related to homelessness, epidemiology, environmental health, and emergency planning and response (patient movement, mass care, mass casualty).
    • Supervisor of systems, contracts, purchasing, software, development, and resources for more than 300 direct employees across the State, including all offices and bureaus within the Department of a Health.
    • Manager for all GIS systems and servers, including SQL Server, GIS application development, field surveying, and related systems and integrated platforms.
    • Supervising, managing and mentoring GIS staff, including project management, budgeting, hiring, meetings and coordination across departments and agencies, training and conferences, both presenting and leading/ teaching.
    • Online systems manager for ArcGIS Online, Portal, and Enterprise systems, including managing user licenses, data and content, publication, and open data development.
September 2018 – August 2019: Geospatial Analyst
  • Database management, design and deployment through ArcGIS Enterprise systems
  • Geospatial application design and management through ArcGIS Online application builder, including story maps, dashboards, surveillance and monitoring systems, and public information tools.
  • Surveying development (design, analysis and implementation through Survey123)
  • Management of State of Florida geospatial planning and operations during emergency/disaster events for the Florida Department of Health, including response to Hurricane Michael (2018) and Hurricane Dorian (2019)
  • Epidemiological research and analysis, specifically disease migration, control and outbreak mitigation and analysis for Hepatitis A (2019–), Influenza (2018, 2019), and environmental toxins (Vibrio, toxic algae, Red Tide)

Florida State University, Department of Geography, Tallahassee, Fla.
2016—2018: Graduate teaching assistant, Ph.D. Candidate

Planned courses and created materials for lectures, web resources, tests, etc., for the following courses/semesters:

  • GEO 2200; Physical Geography (Fall 2016 – Teaching Assistant)
  • GIS 3015; Map Analysis (Spring 2017 – Instructor)
  • GEO 2200; Physical Geography (Summer 2017 – Instructor)
  • GIS 3015; Map Analysis (Fall 2017 – Instructor)

Louisiana Sea Grant, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, La.
2015—2016: Geospatial Specialist

  • Developed hurricane surge and inundation model using historical hurricane and meteorological data, and local narratives providing relative estimates of inundation (TEK); Presented the findings to community members and incorporated their qualitative data into the surge/inundation model by adjusting spatial weights of base layers.
  • Identified American Indian burial and ceremonial sites using Lidar-derived DEMs, coupled with other surface-level indicators, to assist with the Pointe-au-Chien and the Isle de Jean Charles’ application for federal recognition and expansion of their documented cultural history, as well as for designation as historical places and subsequent protections from potentially destructive development.
  • Analyzed and mapped coastal oil, gas, and sulfur canals and networks, coupled with land loss data, to determine areas where land loss could be attributed to canal construction, and how those areas may respond to sea level rise in the future.
  • General geoscience research, mapping and app development relating to land use/land cover change, land loss, hurricanes, flooding, habitat suitability, climate change, water issues, and other miscellaneous geospatial tasks upon request.
Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, State of Louisiana; Baton Rouge, La.
2014-2015: Coastal Resources Scientist
  • Researched and tested the sensitivity of geospatial models for various climate change scenario impacts, including tropical cyclone intensity and frequency, sea level rise, and precipitation frequency and intensity.
  • Modeled multiple sea level rise scenarios for strategic planning and feasibility studies, including shoreline change and marsh-edge erosion with proposed project assessments.
  • Authored appendices for the 2017 Coastal Master plan, including tropical cyclones, climate change, and future environmental scenarios.
  • Developed the physical exposure model as part of a coast-wide storm surge vulnerability index using historical surge observation and records, used as part of a larger social vulnerability analysis conducted by LSU in partnership with CPRA.

Louisiana State University, Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program, Southern Regional Climate Center; Baton Rouge, La.
2012-2014: Graduate Research Assistant

  • Reviewed and edited four chapters of the National Climate Assessment under the supervision of convening lead author Lynne Carter.
  • Conducted shoreline change analysis for the Mississippi coast from 1972-2014, including hurricane impacts assessment, and storm parameters analysis.
  • Completed regional climatological analysis prepared for the Louisiana Hazards Mitigation Plan, including trends and projections for future environmental conditions.
  • Wrote, designed and edited publications relating to climate change and adaptation for a variety of audiences and stakeholders, ranging from government officials to citizens.

ImageCat, Inc. Long Beach, Ca.
2012-2013: Remote Sensing Analyst

  • Assessed wind damage, inundation, and storm surge caused by Hurricane Sandy across the mid-Atlantic and northeast coasts using remotely sensed data. Assignments included marking buildings, determining flood height, and verification of grids.
  • Trained graduate students on using the web interface and protocol for determining surge/flood heights.
  • Repeated similar analysis of damaged/destroyed buildings in and around Moore, Oklahoma as a result of tornado damages in April 2013.

Syracuse Center of Excellence in Energy and Environmental Systems; Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York.
2011: Communications and Special Projects Intern

  • Mapping and analysis of the distribution of sustainable initiatives for community outreach.
  • Wrote, edited and designed publications for the EPA, USDA, City of Syracuse, Onondaga County, US Department of Energy, NY Department of Environmental Conservation, and other local non-profit organizations.
  • Edited letters from our organization to Governor John de Jongh (U.S. Virgin Islands), facilitated workshops on health issues relating to hydrofracking, and spent a week collecting data and personal stories from those affected by natural gas drilling.
  • Directed, edited and produced videos with the Onondaga Earth Corps, an inner-city youth program focused on environmental issues:
  • Assisted with public outreach and education as part of Onondaga County’s “Save the Rain” program, which included website development, designing/editing informational publications and attending rain-barrel installation workshops.


  1. Jones, R, 2020. COVID-19 Trends in Florida K-12 Schools, August 10 – November 14, 2020, MedRxiv pre-print. DOI:
  2. Jones, R & Romer, JE, 2020. COVID-19 K-12 Trends in Florida – August 10 – October 3, 2020. MedRxiv pre-print. DOI:
  3. Jones, R, 2020. The COVID Monitor: Tracking and Reporting COVID-19 Cases in K-12 Schools, Global, ArcGIS Experience Builder.
  4. Jones, R. 2020. Florida COVID Action, Global. ArcGIS Experience Builder.
  5. Jones, R. 2020. Florida Department of Health: Florida COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard, Global. ArcGIS Experience Builder.
  6. Jones, R. 2019. Florida Department of Health’s Hurricane Michael GIS Response. San Diego, California: ESRI User Conference 2019. (Third place in ESRI’s story map competition)
  7. Jones, R. 2015. “Quantifying extreme weather event impacts on the northern Gulf Coast using Landsat Imagery.” Journal of Coastal Research (2015) 31 (5): 1229–1240. DOI:
  8. Jones, R. 2014. 2017 Coastal Master Plan: Model Improvement Plan, (Subtask 4.7) Future Scenarios Appendix 7: Tropical Cyclone Intensity and Frequency. Version I. (pp. xx-xx or p. x). Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority. Final version to be published in 2017.
  9. Jones, R. 2014. “Quantifying the impact of hurricanes, thunderstorms and mid-latitude cyclones on theMississippi-Alabama barrier islands using remotely sensed data.” MS thesis Louisiana State University. Web. April 17, 2014.
  10. Friedland, C., Joyner, T., Mecholsky, K., Rohli, R., Gilliland, J., Madani, S., Ogea, S., Carter, M., and Jones, R. 2014.“Louisiana State Hazard Mitigation Plan (SHMP).”Governor’s Office, Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. Baton Rouge, LA.


1.     2022 Whistleblowers of America keynote address, Sept. 2022
2.     2022 National Whistleblower Day speaker, July 2022
3.     2021 American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting, Keynote
4.     2020 PBS Newshour Special Event, Panelist
5.     2020 NEURISA Chapter Annual Meeting, Keynote
6.     2020 Data Science Conference on COVID-19, Keynote
7.     2020 Women in GIS Special Event, Special Event



2016- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, St. Marks, Fla. 2016- Florida Master Site File Office, Tallahassee, Fla.
2015- Louisiana Department of Archaeology, Baton Rouge, La.
2015- Isle de Jean Charles Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Indians, Terrebonne Parish, La.
2015- Pointe-au-Chien Indian Tribe, Terrebonne-Lafourche Parish, La.
2014- Live Oak Society, Baton Rouge, La.
2014- Monumental Trees Society, United States Chapter, Southeast
2014- Reviewer for the Journal of Coastal Research
2011- Member, Association of American Geographers (AAG)
2011- Member, American Geophysical Union (AGU)
2011- Member, American Meteorological Society (AMS)



2012 Communications assistant, Greater Baton Rouge Clean Cities Coalition, Baton Rouge, LA. 2012 Freelance writer, The Advocate, Baton Rouge, LA.
2008-2011 Feature Editor and Student Business Manager, The Daily Orange; Syracuse, NY. 2011 Desk Clerk, Holiday Inn; Syracuse, NY.
2011 Writer and Web Editor, DemocracyWise.Syr.Edu; Syracuse, NY
2011 Videographer, The Newshouse of Syracuse University; Syracuse, NY.
2010- 2011 Writer and Web Editor, Democracy in Action; Syracuse, NY.
2010 Receptionist, Syracuse University LGBT Resource Center; Syracuse, NY.
2010 English teacher’s assistant, The New School; New York, NY.
2009 Staff Writer and Photographer, The Stone County Enterprise; Wiggins, MS.
2008 River and canoe guide, Black Creek Canoe Rentals and Excursions, Brooklyn, Miss.
2006-2007 Desk Clerk, Best Western Woodstone; Wiggins, Miss.
2005-2006 Waitress, Pizza Inn; Wiggins, Miss.


2021- Volunteer, Defenders of Freedom Florida, Milton, Fla.
2021 & 2022  Women’s March Organizer/Volunteer, Washington, DC and Fort Walton Beach, Fla.
2018-2019 Volunteer, Americorps, Hurricane Michael aid, Coastal Florida, USA
2018–2020 EnvironMentors program participant and educator, American Association of Geographers, Tallahassee, Fla.
2016-2017 Volunteer tutor, Leon County Public Schools, Math, Science, English and Writing, Florida
2015- Volunteer GIS analyst, URISA-GIS Corps, Multiple Locations, USA and Canada
2015- Volunteer Designer and Writer, Non-profit Youth Action, Multiple Locations, USA
2015-2016 Baton Rouge Soccer Club Youth League Volunteer Coach
2012-2013 LSU Quidditch Team, Beater, Outreach Manager, Fundraising Manager
2009-2012 Syracuse University Quidditch, Beater, Team Captain, Fundraising Coordinator 2007-2009 Volunteer dog walker at local SPCA chapter
FOREVER Fanatical FC Barcelona Fan FOREVER Devoted New Orleans Saints Fan

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