Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Student Spotlight: Xavier McQuiston

Xavier McQuiston – 2015
Xavier is a junior at Washington College, now working in the GIS lab for his second year. He began working on the Tanyard Tree mapping project, where his job was essentially to use a series of images of Maryland landscapes to map out tree canopies. The ultimate goal of this project was to plan the planting of more trees in certain areas. At the beginning of his sophomore year, Xavier moved onto the GOCCP projects. He began with an extremely limited basis of knowledge, understanding ArcMap and other ArcGIS products.
Xavier stated, “I started off with more basic things such as domestic violence data entry, corrections, and QA/QC. Soon after, I was making maps using the data we had cleaned up. The transition was rocky at first, as I had never created a map before, but the staff and student interns were extremely helpful.” Xavier feels the people he collaborates with in the lab are his favorite thing about GIS, as everyone is “…great to work with, and the environment at WCGIS is extremely comfortable.”
GOCCP – GoogleImages
More recently, Xavier  has moved onto projects which are more involved. Welcome Wagon is a current project, involving several different programs. Xavier continued, “What I like about GIS is that I am doing something different almost every day. I could be making maps in ArcMap, completing data entry, assisting other interns, making tables and graphs in Excel.” He believes that working in the lab has honed his computer skillset, and has prepared him for future challenging work environments. Xavier is pleased to report  that he is confident in his abilities to compartmentalize data, utilizing the information from data entry to make coherent maps, and much more.
Xavier described the many advantages to working in the WCGIS lab. There is a wide variety of teams that provide opportunities to work on multiple projects. The staff encourages the individual to discover their niche. For some, this ranges from GOCCP, 3D mapping, modeling the WAC campus, marketing and advertising, Photoshop, as well as Center for Environment and Society (CES) environmental projects. Interests can always be met through a variety of options,  yet the job supplies its interns with social and professional skills that cannot be found at most student jobs. The great people, ever-expanding atmosphere, and the versatility of the program create a wonderful opportunity to employ over 70 student-interns at WCGIS.


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