At Washington College, students do not have to eagerly await professional job experience, or a chance to travel, until after graduation day. Endless opportunity begins here in our backyard of Chestertown, especially for students who have discovered the art of Geographic Information Systems. Junior, Cara Murray, took a position on the WC GIS Lab team fall semester of her freshman year. A double major in Environmental Studies and Psychology, the skills she is learning as a GIS Intern has already begun to open doors of opportunity for her in her field.
Cara Murray is just one of many students benefiting and learning through WC GIS. Not only are these students learning, but they are giving back to the community through their work. Serving as an example to other colleges and universities, WC GIS has made great strides in engaging students in effective research projects.
A project known as the “Queen Anne’s Development Project,” was Murray’s first big project – mapping where hypothetical subdivisions in Queen Anne’s County were created to analyze the effect further development would have on the amount of prime farmland.
Peru was selected for the pilot project, taking into consideration the College’s ties with the country as the Chesapeake Semester travels there each year, and its status as a peripheral country. The team of interns was divided into three groups analyzing water resources, energy resources and demographics.
As an intern in this pilot program, Murray and her group focused on the energy sector of Peru, looking into current and future vulnerability issues with the electrical grid such as socioeconomic divide, civil unrest, climate change and increased demand. The chance to attend the 2011 GEOINT Symposium also presented itself, the nation’s largest intelligence event held in San Antonio, TX. Murray and other team members had the opportunity to meet with NGA staff and various corporate sponsors such as Digital Globe and Geoweb3D.
As so many other students around the country, Murray understands the prominence of this technology. “GIS is a great technology and will only become increasingly important for the future; besides the great applications we currently utilize it for, such as crime mapping and environmental analysis, the potential of the technology really is limitless.”