What is your education and professional background?
I am from India and graduated in Economics from there before I shifted my base to Minnesota in 2016. At present I am enrolled in the MS program in Data Intelligence and Geo Analytics (DIGA) at Saint Mary's Twin Cities campus. In the past, I have worked as a freelance content writer for a leading student academic magazine and developed content on articles related to Macro-Economics , Environmental Sciences and Financial-Economics. It was a great learning experience for me but I was always inclined towards learning the analytics side of data and I was happy to find Geographic Information Sciences. I definitely plan to explore more opportunities with DIGA and spatial mapping knowledge.
What led you to GIS? More specifically, how did you get to Saint Mary's University of Minnesota (SMUMN)?
I always liked maps and enjoyed discovering new places with the help of maps. I had no idea that spatial data collection can be a field of study altogether and can offer such useful insights to planning and resource management. So, when I was hunting for data analytics courses around, I came across GIS program and was fascinated with the course structure. Hence, I decided to take the next step into it. This University was recommended by a friend and I am very happy with the decision, as the course structure is very well developed and instructors take personal interest in your learning. The class atmosphere is friendly and very interactive, which helps you push your own limits.
Explain briefly a project at GSS you've done that contributed to your overall knowledge and educational experience.
At present I am working on mapping wetlands in North Dakota. I started off by learning manual digitization of linears and polygons following training and attribution standards given by the National Wetlands Inventory, and my responsibility is to come up with an automation process for identification of wetlands in Fort Berthold reservation in North Dakota. Apart from that, there is also good learning on data development to spatial model building and raster/vector data analysis. This project is definitely increasing my knowledge base in GIS and also in Geo Analytics. It is interesting to see how every county has a different geography and needs different base imagery for wetlands identification and image interpretation. It has helped me develop my skill set in ArcGIS as well as Arc Pro.
How do you see GIS fitting into your future?
As I am almost near degree completion and now I think I would want to explore more work opportunities on projects related to Remote Sensing and Imagery Analysis in future. My current project on wetland mapping has been helpful as I can understand how spatial data collection can be put to use and then interpreted for further analysis. I do see myself taking keen interest in environmental conservation and hopefully climate change projects soon. It would definitely be very fulfilling for me.
Where can we find you outside of GSS?
I am graduating this summer so most likely I would be available at the Twin Cities campus. I do like like to stay outdoors for running and cycling at Lake Calhoun in summers. Also exploring new restaurants in the city is something I enjoy a lot.