For these last two weeks, Washington College may have been quiet as students departed for their Thanksgiving breaks, but the lab was still busy!

On Nov. 14, the lab was open on Saturday for an Open House where our METS Guild was able to demonstrate their new abilities and knowledge in front of prospective students, parents, faculty and staff. The event was part of the Maryland STEM Festival and we had a lot of people come through our lab.

“It really amazes me how bright the younger generation is – and watch out, too,” GIS Program Coordinator Stewart Bruce said, “these youngsters are going to be competing for jobs within a few short years.”

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Funded by the Verizon Foundation, The METS Guild is comprised of local children in grades 7 to 9, who completed a rigorous application process to join the Guild. After selecting one of the three available tracks – Web Design, 3D Visualization and Gaming, and GIS – the students began their fall training every weekend starting in October. The weekend classes are led by Journeymen and Journeymen Leaders in the WC GIS Program, who are sharing their skills that they’ve learned from working with the Program and are also gaining teaching experience.

Alex Roberts, part of the 3D Visualization and Gaming track, said the experience is fun and rewarding. “It’s interesting and I believe it is for a good cause. I have never done anything like this before, so it is a little nerve-wracking, but it is still a very good thing in the end,” he said. Roberts thinks that working with the METS Guild will improve his skills in patience, tutoring, communication, and leadership.

The three-hour classes typically start by doing a quick introduction to the program, explaining its uses and drawbacks, its use in the real world and what the students will be doing that day. Then a teacher goes through the model creation project step by step, projected on the board for the sixteen students in the track to follow.

Once the students complete their training during the fall, they’ll begin an eight-week long process of working on real world projects. Since GIS and the Upper Shore Regional Council are both partnered to bring GIS education to the youth, the Guild members may have the opportunity to work on things like modeling Chestertown.

The 16-week commitment doesn’t come without its perks – besides the experience the students will learn for working with real GIS technologies, they’ll also receive a small stipend for completion of their guild assignment. Not to mention, they get the title of “Junior Apprentices.”

You can read more about the METS Guild’s ongoing work here.

Beyond just the METS Guild, student interns at the lab were showing off their work, on anything from crime mapping to historic reconstruction, environmental management and more. We were also handing out free GIS software and information on how to sign up for GIS courses online for free.


Thank you to everyone who came out to support our METS Guild as part of the STEM Festival, and for those who just wanted to see what we were up to!