Friday, November 16, 2012

Student Spotlight: Stephanie Hallinan

     Always check your email, you never know - it may lead to a new job. Sophomore Stephanie Hallinan began her internship with GIS because of an email of opportunities in the lab sent over the summer.
     “I had never heard of GIS before, but after going through the site it seemed like a really interesting and challenging place to work that would offer more than simply manning a desk for several hours. I wanted something that would be new and challenging, but would offer me skills I could use later on, and would hopefully open some doors when looking for employment after college. I realize GIS offers all of this and more.”

     Originally from Fayetteville, North Carolina, she was raised in a military family. Traveling abroad with her family during her father’s various deployments sparked an interest in international affairs. She is now pursuing an International Studies degree with a concentration in peace and conflict studies, specifically a regional concentration in the Near East. Her passion lies in relief and development work and hopes for a career as a Project Manager at NGO or a nonprofit.
     “Mr. Bruce helped me see how I could relate the skills I would learn to international relief and development. We discussed past projects GIS had done, and he showed me the finished work students had completed. GIS was definitely what I was looking for.”
     With only a few months of interning under her belt, Hallinan has nothing but great things to say about the WC GIS lab.

     “Everyone has been extremely welcoming and helpful. I love that I actually enjoy coming to work; it's not the type of job I have to drag myself out of bed for. At other jobs on campus you're mostly there to ease the load of the campus faculty, staying out of the way while they do the real work. But at GIS you are very much the core of the team and the projects you're assigned have real importance. I have been assigned to crime work; it feels good to know my work is actually helping people of the community.”
      Having started early in her college career, Hallinan has begun a journey that is sure to open up doors for her as it has for many others.

     “I can't wait to see where my internship with GIS will take me. The technology is amazing, and new advancements are being made every day, but it’s clear that this technology impacts many different areas of our lives. I'm eager to see GIS grow. This is an amazing field, and I'm excited for new students to get exposed to GIS through work at the lab.”
      Looking toward the future of the GIS lab, she already has a few ideas. “I’m looking for ways to apply this technology to development work in foreign countries. I'd like to see GIS used to map regions where poverty and underdevelopment hit the hardest, perhaps identifying common environmental or social factors, so we can find solutions and help better the living standard for individuals across the globe.”

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