Connecting and Empowering Young Professionals

Blog Post created by jkerski-esristaff Employee on May 16, 2013
I recently participated in the European Association of Geographers conference in Belgium.  There, I had the pleasure of interacting with energetic and knowledgeable young professionals promoting the European Geography Association for Students and Young Geographers, the EGEA.

Some members of the European Geography Association, with Karl Donert above left, President of the European Association of Geographers.

It is an honor for Esri to partner with and support this organization, along with our colleagues at the University of Utrecht and elsewhere.  The goal of EGEA's network is to exchange knowledge and information for geography students and young geographers. To achieve this goal, EGEA organises congresses, student exchanges, hosts foreign students, and publishes a newsletter. As all of us in the field of geotechnology are well aware, networking is critical for success.  But what is also critical is empowering students and young professionals as they begin their careers in this field.  How can we as the geography and GIS professsional community best do that?

Associations such as the EGEA can help grow an effective geo-workforce of tomorrow through development of skills, confidence, and, in short, cultivating lifelong learning and career growth.  Also playing a key role are resources such as the new GeoPivot and the Geomentor program.  But I also think effective nurturing starts at earlier ages, reflected in the efforts that we and others are making in such programs as 4H, the National Girls Collaborative Project, and other after school programs, and through working directly with primary and secondary students and educators.  We have numerous complicated issues to solve in the 21st Century, and most of these issues have a geographic component that can be understood through the use of geotechnologies.  These young people with whom we are working are skilled, committed, and eager to make a positive difference in our world.

Are you involved in any of these efforts to help build the next generation of geo-minded professionals?   What other efforts do you think our community needs to make?