Saturday, February 1, 2020

Staff Spotlight: Luis Machado

My experience in the lab has been varied but linear. I started as a student intern in the Fall of my Junior year because of the part I took in an NGA Open Source Anticipatory Research Project. It was a large project with three faculty leading teams of three to four students looking into different research interests in Peru. I worked with Stewart Bruce's team and as a part of that work was invited to attend the GEOINT symposium in San Antonio. Stew offered me a job surrounded by the biggest names in Geospatial intelligence and I took it. At the time, I knew little about Arcmap, virtually nothing about remote sensing and had dabbled into GPS about as far as my cell phone could go.
After about three days of training Stew handed me my first project: Look into the open source technology that would make Arcmap obsolete. If ever there was a foreshadowing event for the rest of my time at GIS, it would be this. From testing, researching and reporting on Open Source Software I went on to some basic digitizing, some data entry, and some introductory map development. I worked on Quail mapping, 3D design, sketch up, and video editing projects over the course of that Fall and through my Spring semester.
As a student I worked in Easton a lot, mostly doing fieldwork and analysis using the Topcon. When I graduated Stew again offered me a position, this time as a staff member working on projects that required expertise with remote sensing and GPS equipment. I took the position, though it would be for one year with no possibility of extension. As an international student from Venezuela, I had applied and been accepted for OPT (optional practical training) that was to last 1 year after I graduated. At the end of the year my visa expired and I was to return to Venezuela.
As a staff member, I’ve worked on a slew of projects. At different times throughout the year I was assigned anywhere from 4 to 15 different projects and tasks. All were interesting in their own way. All had difficulties and novelties and required work and diligence. None of those projects would have gotten close to done without the students who work at the GIS lab.
My plan for the summer is to work until June 16th. After which, it being illegal for me to work in this country, I’ll pack my bags and sail off to the blue yonder in search of new adventures and curiosities. I say that only partly in jest. My plan is to fly back to Venezuela and diligently apply for a student visa so I can attend graduate school in the United States. In the interim between applying for a student visa and actually returning to the United States, I hope to spend time with my family whom I haven’t seen for more than a few days at a time in over 2 years. If my luck holds true I’ll find myself a job where I can use what I’ve learned here to contribute to a project that will challenge me. And the future after that will be what it will be. 
- Luis Machado

AUTHOR:Kelly Dobroski

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