Friday, February 22, 2013

GIS bridges the gap between Venezuela and America: Luis' Story

     Students from all over the world come to study at Washington College, whether it is for one semester or four years. WC has study abroad programs at institutions all around the globe which provide excellent opportunities for its students. Luis, an Anthropology major with minors in Philosophy and English, is a four year international student originally from Venezuela.

     During his time working at the GIs lab, he has not only worked on projects in the lab itself, but has also had the opportunity to pursue outside fieldwork. He worked in Easton mapping the storm-water system throughout the town. Luis was one of the few interns from the GIS lab who attended the GEOINT Symposium in November 2011. At this event, Luis had a chance to “wander around and mingle with some of the biggest names in GIS and government groups.” What an opportunity it was!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

"GIS can and does save lives every day," Sean Emerson

       Sean Emerson, a freshman planning to double major in History and International Studies, arrived at Washington College already knowing that he wanted to work in the GIS Lab.
     “While looking at college websites my junior year, I stumbled upon the GIS Program's webpage. I liked what I saw on the website and I found a lot of their past projects to be interesting.” Sean says that he developed an early interest in Graphic Information Systems. He credits the influence of his father, an employee for a national intelligence agency who uses maps extensively in his work, for sparking that interest. As a boy growing up in Silver Springs, Maryland, he would often use Google Earth, which he considers his first experience using a Geographic Information Systems program.

         Sean says that, after learning about the GIS program at Washington College through the school website, he knew he wanted to become a part of the program. When he was accepted to Washington College, he immediately signed up for the Intro to GIS class with Stewart Bruce, the Director of the GIS Lab. He was also excited to receive an email from Stew about job openings in the GIS Lab.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

GIS Lab: A Melting Pot of Majors

     In the GIS lab, you will find those studying anything from Political Science to Environmental Studies working on projects in the lab on any given day.
     Sociology major, Alicia DeBonis became part of the GIS team after taking the Into to GIS course offered at WC, leading to an internship with the GIS lab.
     “It was probably the best decisions I have ever made”, says DeBonis. “It provided me with work experience and helped form great connections with other employees and community members.”

Friday, February 15, 2013

A Door to the Working World - Spencer Van Cise

     Three years in the GIS lab has proven to be a great investment for Spencer Van Cise, a senior who will be graduating in May with a diploma and job offer in hand. The Environmental Studies major from Arcadia, California has secured a full-time position with technology consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton after completing a summer internship with the company in the summer of 2012.          
     Spencer joined the GIS lab as a sophomore after receiving a tour from Stew Bruce. “As an environmental studies major I was immediately interested in the environmental mapping and analysis that was being done.” Within a short time, Spencer branched out into working with the Crime Mapping Project utilized by Maryland State Police.

  “I am grateful to my experience in the lab working with Stew. Without it I could have never received a summer internship with Booz Allen Hamilton or secured this job. Because of my time in the lab, I have networked with many GIS professionals, as well as developers.”

Friday, February 8, 2013

Meet Mia DeNardi - GIS Analyst II

     Our WC GIS team has grown this winter – not only in skill but in size. Meet Mia DeNardi, a GIS Analyst II who has joined our staff with the hopes of helping students learn about GIS and geography while contributing to meaningful maps for different agencies and organizations.

    “I found out about Washington College through a job posting Stew created. Two summers ago I interned with the National Geographic Society and worked with their Education department writing a report on the state of Geography education in the US. It wasn't until that point that I became interested in geography education and this job description seemed perfect for that new found interest,” said Mia.
      A native from rural northeast Ohio, she graduated with a B.A. in Geography and Urban & Regional Planning from Miami University in 2010. She is careful to note, “This is the original Miami in Oxford, OH - not Florida!” Mia graduated with her M.A. in Geography from Ohio University in June 2012.

Friday, February 1, 2013

GIS in our Classroom: Anthropology

Courtesy of: WC Anthropology Department

     Between AD 800 and AD 1100, the Vikings were a force of expansion from their native Scandinavian homelands eastward to Russia and westward to present day Newfoundland. In my GRW* course about the Vikings, students work with GoogleEarth to develop interactive digital tours that trace the historical, technological, and cultural influences the Vikings had on the nations they encountered across northern Europe and the North Atlantic.
     Each student chooses a different topic area and creates “stops” or points of interest, relating specifically to that topic. Each stop conveys detailed information about the location in a paragraph fashion, rather like an Encyclopedia Brittanica entry, providing accurate, informative, and interesting information that can be easily understood by someone who has not had any exposure to Viking history and culture. 

     The GIS Lab conducts instructional workshops to get the students oriented with GoogleEarth and to answer questions and provide technical assistance as needed, as students invariably run into "snags" as they produce their files. The completed tours can easily be uploaded to the internet for educational purposes. Additionally, many fields that our WC students will move into upon graduation may not require them to write papers or reports but will expect them to communicate their ideas effectively to an audience and to support these ideas with data. GoogleEarth tours provide an innovative alternative avenue for communicating research and analysis.

    *GRW seminars invite students into the scholarly conversation at Washington College by introducing them to the process of academic writing and research. Global Perspectives seminars, a required first-year course, offer students a range of courses that encourage thinking beyond national boundaries.
[From the GRW website:]

-Dr. Julie Markin
Global Perspectives Teaching Fellow