GSS Spotlight!

ANGELA SOTO

What is your education and professional background?

I am a senior studying Environmental Biology and Spanish. I have no background in working with GIS prior to working for GeoSpatial Services, but for the past year, I have been working on updates to the National Hydrography Dataset in Alaska to improve the accuracy and currency of the data.

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

AngelaSoto.jpg

I was introduced to GIS through my required Saint Mary’s coursework, by the recommendation of my academic advisor, and through my internship at Cascade Meadow Wetlands and Environmental Science Center. I had heard of the idea of GIS discussed in various contexts related to my major prior to finding GSS, and once I found that positions were open for Student Technicians, I knew that it would provide the perfect introduction to GIS for me. I’m from Saint Paul, and I discovered SMUMN through friends from high school who were attending the university. I really enjoyed the environmental program that was offered, and the many educational opportunities offered by the unique landscapes and natural resources in and around Winona.

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

My work in the Cook Inlet and Kuskokwim River basins for the NHD has provided me with opportunities to familiarize myself with water flow patterns, contour lines, and basic GIS functions and tools. Learning the applications of my work has been the most rewarding aspect for me, especially knowing that it will be used for habitat management purposes. I was actually able to apply my knowledge of GIS that I gained from working at GSS at my position as a Conservation Apprentice at the Winona County Soil and Water Conservation District.

How do you see GIS fitting into your future?

One of my goals for my career is to have a position that allows for the use of GIS for planning and analytical purposes. While I am not yet certain of a definite career path for myself, I expect that it will be within the natural resources and conservation fields. I am constantly amazed at the growing number of applications of GIS, and the implications it holds for knowing more about our planet and how we can best manage it so that it can be accessible for generations to come.

Where can we find you outside of GSS?

Outside of GSS I can either be found in at school in Winona or at home in Saint Paul. In my free time I enjoy hiking with friends, shopping, watching movies, and going to concerts.