What is your education and professional background?
I am a senior Environmental Biology major with a Zoology minor. I worked as a student worker at Saint Mary’s University of MN Campus Safety for 3 years and as a Camp Counselor/Crew Leader at the Crex Meadows Youth Conservation Camp in Grantsburg, WI for two summers. Currently, I am the Greenhouse Manager for the university and I have been a GSS Student Intern since December 2018. After Saint Mary’s, I plan on going to graduate school to earn my Master’s degree in Conservation or Natural Resources.
What led you to GIS? More specifically, how did you get to Saint Mary's University of Minnesota (SMUMN) in Winona?
Saint Mary’s University has always been a part of my family. I have been visiting SMU for 16 years and this place is like a second home for me. My oldest sister graduated from here in 2007 and my third oldest sister graduated from here in 2015. When it was time for me to choose my school, this university was perfect because I was looking for a small school and the surrounding environment is perfect for my major. I have always known that I would be an Environmental Major, as well. The environment has always been a big part of my life and who I am.
Explain briefly a project at GSS you've done that contributed to your overall knowledge and educational experience.
I have worked on the GSS BLM Wyoming Project for most of my time at GSS. The experience I have gained on this project has benefited me immensely. Currently, I use this experience to assist me with my senior thesis. I am looking at the relationship between needle grass, a native species, and spotted knapweed, an invasive species, in the Crex Meadows State Wildlife Area. In this project I have used my experience gained at GSS to map the locations of these species and have used the tools I have learned to analyze these species’ relationships with each other and their surrounding environments. I am hoping this work will give the scientific community more insight on the impacts of invasive species. It would not have been possible without my experiences at GSS.
How do you see GIS fitting into your future?
I see GIS fitting into many aspects in my future. In the technology age, many organizations in environmental science use GIS in their research and management plans. They use it so frequently that they are now requiring new hires to have this experience. I have a feeling I will be using my acquired skills from this position frequently.
Where can we find you outside of GSS?
Outside of GSS I am involved in many things. On top of my education and work, I am involved in Cross Country, Indoor/Outdoor Track and Field, and Concert Choir. I also play piano and guitar on the side. I usually stay very busy! So the answer to this question is running on a trail somewhere or at Yons.