What is your education and professional background?
Before starting at Saint Mary’s, I took a few community college general education classes. This allowed me to jump right into the core curriculum of my original intended major- music industry. Not wishing to be a starving artist, I switched to a management major with a music minor. Now that I’ve completed my bachelor’s degree, I still don’t really know what I want to do with myself- so I decided to jump into a new degree! Currently, I have completed half of my MBA/Project Management Specialization courses.
What led you to GIS? More specifically, how did you get to Saint Mary's University of Minnesota (SMUMN) in Winona?
I grew up in Dodge, Wisconsin, Just “over the river and through the woods” to Saint Mary’s University, so the school had always been in the back of my mind. Attending was a bit of a last minute decision- I finished high school a year early and hadn’t applied to anywhere until May of high school graduation. SMU accepted my application, and with just over a month remaining until classes started, I enrolled. It wasn’t until my senior year at Saint Mary’s that I heard about GSS through an email- some company was looking for student workers. It was no “ah-ha!” moment for me, more like a “why not give it a try?” I had briefly learned about geographic information systems as they relate to business functions- so my curiosity got the better of me and I sent in an application. I guess the rest is history.
Explain briefly a project at GSS you've done that contributed to your overall knowledge and educational experience.
The main project I have been working on is the Wyoming Bureau of Land Management contract. With no real experience prior to this, it was a lot of information to take on. Then when my higher-ups approached me and asked if I wanted to help lead a team of summer workers, I said yes. The biggest learning factor for me was going from being the person asking all the questions to being the person who is supposed to answer the questions. When people are depending on you for answers, you learn the answers a lot faster… or in my case, get a lot better at asking others for help. It’s been a great experience learning something totally new.
How do you see GIS fitting into your future?
GIS is a very powerful project management tool. Beyond just a topographical application, GIS can be used to scope out essential criteria for business strategic locations. Finding the right area based on demographic information such as income, education, population, proximity to resource suppliers, and so many other criteria can be achieved in a timely manner using GIS tools. Hopefully one day I can be the person with the knowledge and authority to make such business decisions.
Where can we find you outside of GSS?
Outside of GSS or the quiet study areas used for homework completion, there’s no safe bet where you will find me. I'm rather spontaneous and enjoy making crazy last minute plans. I like to try/do a bit of everything. I do enjoy traveling, hiking, gardening, hunting, skating, and rocking out to 5FDP or A7X in my car. Besides for the last of that list, I’m pretty much trying or doing something new every weekend. Ever been skydiving? Me neither, but that’s next on the list!