Recognizing that young Americans have a gap in their understanding of geography and their roles as global citizens, National Geographic helped create Geography Awareness Week, raising awareness to this gap in American education. Also, the hope is to excite people about geography as both a discipline and as a part of everyday life.
To celebrate Geography Awareness Week, Falvey Library and the Department of Geography and the Environment (GEV) invite you to attend this week’s geography-focused events, to check out our list of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) projects below, and to follow along with Falvey’s blogs sharing projects and discussions from GEV’s students and alumni.
Kate Homet ’22 MS, Environmental Planner, N.H.
Geography students, don’t be afraid to give a job in the public sector a try, especially if you’re itching for a job that will make a difference for both you and your community.
When you hear the word sustainability, it probably brings to mind a lot of different subjects. You can associate it with the environment, corporations, food, culture, the economy, transportation, etc. When you hear GIS or Geographic Information Systems, do you associate it in the same way as you might with sustainability? If you don’t, it’s time to start.
While you may be used to seeing and using it for your environmental science analyses, you can also see it being used every day for things like public health dashboards, crime, gerrymandering, political, and immigration maps, for navigation and national security. There are so many sectors that use GIS in their day-to-day work that it has become impossible not to see its impacts in your everyday life.
When I graduated from the GEV master’s program back in 2022, I was pretty nervous to enter into a career in the public sector. I was doubtful that there would be opportunities to use my ESRI or remote sensing skills, and I really didn’t want all of my excitement and passion for GIS to fade away in a position that wasn’t titled “GIS Analyst” or “Environmental Scientist”. But pretty soon after stepping into my new role of Environmental Planner with the City of Portsmouth, I had already compiled a massive list of projects that I could do using GIS, both term and long-term.
What a lot of people don’t tell you about jobs in municipal government is that they are full of opportunity. Not just for individual growth or promotions, but being a part of local government gives you a chance for engagement on all levels. As a local environmental planner, I apply for federal grants, work with state officials on environmental issues or funding for projects, and go out into the community and work alongside residents, local businesses and universities to better my community.
Although my specialty is GIS and environmental science, I also have the opportunity to learn and work with other city departments on a regular basis doing engineering, stormwater, building inspections, health, zoning enforcement, assessing, and policing. While these departments don’t even begin to cover all of the professionals I work with every day, they have a lot in common: they show how extremely useful GIS is to their growth and success.
As someone with that background and that knowledge of GIS, I have the privilege of being able to teach those skills to the people in my community who need it the most. In turn, I’m able to gain lifelong skills and training on a variety of useful topics that will help me to grow and advance in my career.
What more could you ask for?
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