Raechel A. Portelli

Assistant Professor of Geography, Michigan State University

Raechel Portelli is an Assistant Professor of Geography at Michigan State University. Raechel's research is concerned with the cognitive dimensions of remote sensing image analysis. Her dissertation examined the role that cognitive processes played in the interpretation of Landsat time-series data for attributing forest disturbances. Here at MSU Raechel has taken this perspective and applied it to the Geographic Object-Based Image Analysis. Through her guidance of graduate students, she has explored methods of knowledge mining, image analysis, and even text analysis for remote sensing image analysis.

Raechel's interest in human cognition, history, and geospatial technology has resulted in a wide variety of teaching appointments. She leads the development and instruction of cartography at Michigan State University, and has developed the first course in Geographic Object-Based Image Analysis in the Geography Department. In 2019 Raechel took over the Theory and Philosophy of Geography course as well. Her goal as an instructor is to support student creativity, exploration, and appreciation of history.

When Raechel is not working, she is an advocate for work-life balance and mental health, through her activity on Twitter and student mentoring. In her own life, Raechel is an active runner, having completed nine half marathons in 2018, a human and pet mom, and an artist. Her work as an artist in the paper, ceramic, and wood arts influences her teaching, and she can always be found in her workshop on evenings and weekends!


  • –present
    Assistant Professor of Geography, Michigan State University