GSS Spotlight!


What is your education and professional background?


I am a senior undergrad at Saint Mary’s University, majoring in environmental biology and minoring in leadership. I have worked in the food industry, non-profit youth development, political canvassing and ecological research.


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

My academic advisor recommended that I take an intro to GIS class, and I saw the necessity of digital cartography in our collective future. With my interest in natural systems, the new geo mapping technologies have opened the door to many new ways of modeling and managing the earth.


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

While I was involved with the National Wetland Inventory of Minnesota, I was able to look closely at the many different landscapes of western Minnesota near the Red River valley. I got to see through satellite imagery the large–scale patterns of lakes, rivers, and floodplains, and their related plant communities. I learned to identify and separate areas of emergent vegetation like bulrush from floating vegetation like lily pads and algae blooms through the use of color infrared imagery. My understanding of geographical patterns of division in plant communities increased greatly.


How do you see GIS fitting into your future? 

GIS is a powerful new technology with limitless applications. I could use it in city planning by predicting areas of flood risk, or research plant community boundaries or animal habitat ranges. The limit is our imagination with this program.


Where can we find you outside of GSS?

I will be in the gym or in the library, studying and catching up on the news. Sometimes at Ed’s bar watching live music!