Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mapping Beyond the Lab

By: Matt Stiles 11’

Over the summer I started working in the GIS lab, working on crime mapping projects along with a few other projects. I also worked with the summer camp where I got to spend a few days driving a boat up and down the Chester River, mapping docks and collecting water samples. As an Environmental Studies major, during the beginning of my senior year I needed to start developing a plan for my senior capstone project. After some preliminary research I decided to do my project as a comparison between ethanol and biodiesel. I am able to utilize many of my skills that I obtained working in the GIS lab to help with my Capstone Project. I have been collecting national data about crops and ethanol producing plants to show where ethanol can be produced. This is very important because ethanol, unlike biodiesel, has many challenges when it comes to transportation because it absorbs water rapidly and can go bad. These maps can show where ethanol can be easily produced and marketed, and they are important because the only way that ethanol could be feasible is if it can reach the consumers.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Project STEM: Improving Education

By: Devin Hayward ‘14

Nationwide, the falling standards in education in American schools has become a source of public outcry. Here, on the Eastern Shore, Washington College has partnered with Kent and Queen Anne’s County public schools to improve teaching and development in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). By applying for an Education Grant WC’s Departments of Education, Biology, Chemistry, and GIS (Geographic Information Systems) Lab will be working together with the local schools to help improve these standards. The primary objectives are to “provide professional development” to raise the skill level of teachers and to “develop elementary STEM certification for the whole state,” says Michelle Johnson, a WC professor of education. To manage a STEM influenced classroom, pre-service teachers will participate in a STEM field experience. Also, to earn CEU credit, in-service teachers will complete an Intro to STEM course. Faculty from the Departments of Chemistry and Biology, along with staff from GIS, will assist with two summer professional development experiences that will last for three days. Twenty teachers will be able to participate. For the first two days they will be in training, and on the third day they will be in the classroom to implement what they have learned. Not only does this benefit teachers and students of Kent and Queen Anne’s county, but students of WC as well. Classroom teachers who participate in the summer experience will host a WC field student. The field student, who will be there to help implement the STEM classroom, will gain one credit for their participation.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Pot Luck Projects

Currently, the GIS team is enjoying the pleasure of working with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene on a project that will help the government visualize the relationship between patients and travel distance to Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) locations. The project consists of gathering information that will allow the lab to create visual maps of this relationship. Such maps greatly help the individual FQHC’s evaluate which areas are medically underrepresented and which region would be ideal to place a new FQHC.

GIS, Public Health, and Ultimate Goals

By: Smaa Koraym ‘12

This project has expanded the horizon of the WAC GIS team. Having the opportunity to work on such a project is particularly important to me because it touches on my career path, public health. Furthermore, I will have the chance to understand the governmental aspect of how to run an organized health care system. My interest in such knowledge and skill is rooted from my goal to implement a clean, organized health care system in many underdeveloped countries, especially in my home country of Egypt.

Where is GIS Taking You?

By: Nicholas Tremper

I'm currently studying in London participating in the Hansard Program. Luckily, I've been able to get assignments from the GIS lab expanding on what I do when I'm on campus. Since all of our educational materials are online I'm able to work on the lectures from abroad. This is great because it allows me to keep on top of what's happening in the lab as well as getting to be a part of the ever evolving GIS curriculum. We're able to reach students throughout the country as work is being done throughout the world.

Current Projects: Walking Maps

By: Heather Black

It probably doesn’t come as a shock that everything in and around Chestertown is within 3 miles of the college, taking about 15 minutes to walk. A little further away is the country club, taking around 30 minutes to walk to, where you can hit some golf balls around. Or, if golf is not your style, you can stay right on campus and still walk just over a mile. Plus staying on campus provides you with all the added benefits of the Casey Swim Center and the Lifetime Fitness Center. Why not enjoy the beauty of Chestertown and exercise at the same time?

The GIS Lab has partnered with the Director of Human Resources, Alan Chesney, and Recreation Director, Jonathan Jenkins, to establish walking maps that show faculty, staff , and students different routes. These routes can be taken at your leisure to take advantage of the chance to exercise and be outdoors. Since the weather will be getting better soon, we are hoping that more and more members of the community will decide to spend time outdoors. This will be a better opportunity than being confined to the indoors of the academic buildings or the dorms. By showing the Washington College community the different walking routes that they could take, we are hoping to encourage the community to exercise. We are doing so by showing that one does not need to go to the gym and lift weights or run on a treadmill to lose weight. You can instead simply step outside and take a walk. You can access these walking maps from the following link.