GSS Spotlight!


Zack Ansell

Student Intern

What is your education and professional background?

I am an undergrad studying Criminal Justice with a Law Enforcement emphasis; my minor is in GIS. My work experience background is primarily farm work whether working on my family's farm or neighboring farms around my hometown.

What made you get into GIS? More specifically, how did you get to Saint Mary's University of Minnesota (SMUMN) in Winona?

I got into GIS after I was introduced to the work by a family friend who does GIS work for the University of Minnesota. It sounded interesting and I thought it might be something I would like! I grew up in Rushford Minnesota (about 30 minutes from Winona) and both my parents worked at SMUMN; my dad was who made me aware of GSS.

Explain briefly a project at GSS you've done that contributed to your overall knowledge and skillset.

At GSS, I remotely delineate and classify wetlands for the Northwest MN NWI Update mapping project through the MN Department of Natural Resources. Due to my background in farming, along with years of looking at aerial imagery for hunting and fishing, this project really worked for me! I had a good understanding of wetlands going into it but have been learning more along the way.

How do you see GIS fitting into your future?

I see GIS providing me with an added skillset when applying for jobs working in the natural resources law enforcement field.

Where can we find you outside of GSS?

I am usually fishing on the river, hunting waterfowl or deer, or working on my family's farm.