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GeoMentors

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Each month we feature GeoMentor volunteers to showcase the wonderful talent available in our community to assist K-12 schools.

Read our full collection of GeoMentor spotlights online. Want to be featured? Information is available on our program website.
Name: Madhuri Adapala
Position/Job and Affiliation: GIS Analyst; GISP; Oceaneering, Inc.
What was your favorite class in K-12? English and Geography

How did you first learn about and/or use GIS?  As part of my Masters curriculum, we had a project with an external client who was mapping all the scenic routes in the Southern part of the Acadiana region in Louisiana. We used MapInfo to do it.

 

Name one thing you love about GIS and/or geography: Data makes so much sense when you visually represent the same in GIS. And the same data can be sliced and diced and show the various changes to help understanding and critical thinking about it.

 

Why did you want to volunteer as a GeoMentor? My daughter and son are the main reasons I want to volunteer as a GeoMentor. I have seen how their eyes have lit up when I show them the GIS applicability of their school projects and how they can learn GIS as a skill.


What kind of GeoMentor volunteer opportunity and experience are you looking for? I want to volunteer to help others understand what GIS is, teach it and see how GIS fits with their requirements.


If someone asked you why they should learn about GIS and/or geography, how would you respond in one sentence? Because in order to make better decisions, they need to know the information correctly and understand it for their better future.


Email address: Madhuri.adapala@gmail.com 


Website(s): Presentation given for the Louisiana Association of School Libraries

Each month we feature GeoMentor volunteers to showcase the wonderful talent available in our community to assist K-12 schools.

Read our full collection of GeoMentor spotlights online. Want to be featured? Information is available on our program website.
Position/Job and Affiliation: I am a GEOINT Officer at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, a member of the San Diego Regional GIS Council and a Penn State Admissions Representative. For NGA, I currently serve as the GEOINT Liaison Officer to the Naval Information Warfare Systems Command (NAVWAR); For Penn State, I am the academic recruiter for the greater San Diego region. I am also the co-founder of “Geospatial San Diego”, a geospatial networking group that brings together various levels of government, academic, business geospatial enthusiasts who might not ever circulate together. We are very proud of the connections we facilitated which led to great GIS jobs!
What was your favorite class in K-12? Economics in junior high, followed closely by Social Studies and then by recess in K-6th! [No, we did not have a dedicated Geography class in K-12!]

How did you first learn about and/or use GIS?  Before it was widely called “GIS”, I learned about GIS in Penn State’s Geography Department in 1988 when they offered it as one of the four Geography specializations. Embarrassingly enough for this forum, I eschewed that track in favor of Planning & Applied Geography (aka Urban Planning and Regional Development), which is still my hobby.

Name one things you love about GIS and/or geography.  The foremost thing I love about geography (and what I always mention) is how applicable and pervasive geography is in today’s world. The field of Geography is so malleable that is can be applied to many, many, fields of study in the physical & social sciences, business, government & policy and anywhere folks apply ‘data science’. Global Navigation Satellite Systems, the open data movement and smart devices have really driven a resurgence in Geography in today’s world. The Internet of Things, Smart Cities, Data Science, Autonomous Vehicles and many societal issues & policies, all rely heavily on Geography, GIS, spatial and temporal data alignment and geospatial standards (go OGC!).

 

Why did you want to volunteer as a GeoMentor? I truly believe in the Geography Week & GIS Day program so I have been volunteering in my kids’ classrooms each year to be a guest speaker since 2012. Every year at our initial parent teacher meetings, I always ask if I can present during Geography week. I use a Geography topic or GIS to reinforce a current curriculum topic, which helps the teacher… I have never been turned away! We also have an analogous effort at work called “Partners in Education”, which is our geospatially-focused STEM outreach program. So, for me, it is a way to share my love of Geography, connect with my kids and their friends AND facilitate our agency’s STEM outreach mission.

 

What kind of GeoMentor volunteer opportunity and experience are you looking for? As a serial volunteer and having two jobs, I look for opportunities that I can afford with my work/life budget. One perfect fit has been to be a virtual mentor and virtual judge for the “My California GIS Mapping Showcase and Competition” run by the California Geographic Alliance. I feel that I am a good example that being a GeoMentor does not have to be an arduous time commitment.

 

If someone asked you why they should learn about GIS and/or geography, how would you respond in one sentence? GIS and Geography are foundational and pervasive throughout society and business today with the ubiquity of Global Navigation Satellite Systems, smart devices, open data and data science: Geographers and GIS experts are needed everywhere!

 

Email address: rwspacekraft@mac.com 

Website(s): LinkedIn; Geospatial San Diego

 

Twitter: @rwspacekraft

Each month we feature GeoMentor volunteers to showcase the wonderful talent available in our community to assist K-12 schools.

Read our full collection of GeoMentor spotlights online. Want to be featured? Information is available on our program website.
Name: Adam Araza
Position/Job and Affiliation: GIS Analyst – City of Cupertino
What was your favorite class in K-12? English

How did you first learn about and/or use GIS? 

I wasn’t too sure about what I wanted to major in my first couple years in college. My uncle worked as a city planner, and he would tell me: “companies are always hiring for people that know GIS”. So, one year, to avoid taking a chemistry class, I registered for physical geography, and the professor of that class repeated the same advice. The next semester, I enrolled in an intro GIS course and ended up getting my BA in geography.

 

Name one thing you love about GIS and/or geography (I know, just one!):

The flexibility to apply Geography/GIS knowledge to different fields.

Why did you want to volunteer as a GeoMentor?

I have found working in GIS to be a rewarding career. I wanted to spread the word to those who may not be aware.

What kind of GeoMentor volunteer opportunity and experience are you looking for? 

I’d like to find the time in my schedule to teach GIS on-site. I haven’t been able devote enough time to coordinate with a local school, but I am proud to say that since volunteering to become a GeoMentor, I started a scholarship that requires students to answer a geography-based prompt.  

If someone asked you why they should learn about GIS and/or geography, how would you respond in one sentence?

Companies are always hiring for people that know GIS.

Email address: arraraza@gmail.com 
Website(s): LinkedIn

Each month we feature GeoMentor volunteers to showcase the wonderful talent available in our community to assist K-12 schools.

Read our full collection of GeoMentor spotlights online. Want to be featured? Information is available on our program website.
Name: Jennifer Radcliff
Position/Job and Affiliation: GIS Program Coordinator for the City of Tumwater, WA; Co-owner and Host of the podcast "Will We Make It Out Alive?"
What was your favorite class in K-12? I liked almost all of them.  I don't remember having a favorite.

How did you first learn about and/or use GIS?  I was in my senior year of undergrad, wondering what I was going to do with a geography degree.  I took my first GIS class my last semester of undergrad (it was the only GIS course offered at the time), then went on to grad school so I could work in the GIS lab and get experience. 

Name one thing you love about GIS and/or geography (I know, just one!): I get to do so many different things!  There's a location to almost everything, so I get to do a little bit of everything.  I never get bored!
Why did you want to volunteer as a GeoMentor? I love GIS and would like to share my knowledge with a teacher so kids can get experience with GIS at a younger age.
What kind of GeoMentor volunteer opportunity and experience are you looking for?  I would like to work with a teacher to answer their questions and help them prepare for using GIS in the classroom, and to make them aware of the resources out there (free licenses, lesson plans, etc.).  I don't want to be in a classroom myself though.
If someone asked you why they should learn about GIS and/or geography, how would you respond in one sentence? Location ties disparate data together and if you're not looking at the "where," you're not seeing the whole picture and not making the best decisions possible.
Email address: radcliff.jen@gmail.com
Twitter:  @JRadmapgirl 

Unsure of how to get started in helping a school use the freely available ArcGIS software? The great Esri folks who created the Teach with GIS Guides have now also created a Teach with GIS Implementation Guide for GeoMentors!  Check it out for practical advice on getting started working with a K-12 school to use GIS.

  

Each month we feature GeoMentor volunteers to showcase the wonderful talent available in our community to assist K-12 schools.

Read our full collection of GeoMentor spotlights online. Want to be featured? Information is available on our program website.
Name: Shannon H. White
Position/Job and Affiliation: GIS Certificate Coordinator, William & Mary
What was your favorite class in K-12? Geography and of course recess!

How did you first learn about and/or use GIS? I enrolled in a Master's in the College of Education at NC State and my advising professor, Dr. Marsha Alibrandi was offering a semester long course in GIS in Education. It was, to my knowledge, the first of its kind. Many schools offered workshops or a basic overview of GIS in an Instructional Technology class, but this was a full semester course focusing on GIS integration into the classroom.

 

Name one thing you love about GIS and/or geography (I know, just one!): GIS (and geography) allow for creative problem-solving about real-world problems at so many different scales (local to international).
Why did you want to volunteer as a GeoMentor? I believe in GIS integration in the K-12 classroom, the curiosity and engagement in the world through technology opens doors for students. My whole career since grad school has focused on GIS education in both formal and informal settings. We, as GIS professionals, must be willing to help when called upon to assist teachers. They are content and pedagogy experts, we are technical experts - this is a collaboration that can only help students better understand their world.
What kind of GeoMentor volunteer opportunity and experience are you looking for? It's funny because I am willing to help with any opportunities in a variety of ways. Every month, I sit in on a conference call of 4-H Youth Development Professionals who are integrating GIS, GPS and Drones in a variety of ways in different states. While I worked for 4-H in the past, I see my role in these calls is as  a geomentor to try to help on the technical side to think of ways to encourage youth participation in the geospatial sciences. I have created 1 page tutorials and helped some of the folks through 1:1 Zoom webinars. I have also been called upon by school districts as a "geomentor" to participate in their all-day professional development for 90 social studies teachers. Luckily, I have a background in both GIS and Curriculum & Instruction so it's a good fit when I get that type of request. I have worked with an afterschool girls STEM club to fly drones in the school gymnasium and make maps of their school using ArcGIS Online. My favorite way to assist, honestly, is to simply have a teacher who is curious ask a question of how GIS might fit with what they teach. It is such an open-ended way to start building a relationship with educators and students.
If someone asked you why they should learn about GIS and/or geography, how would you respond in one sentence? Every day you use GIS professionally you will learn something new. It is a technology that is about spatial analysis, interdisciplinary critical thinking, problem-solving and it's fun! Oh, and by the way, there are also great, well-paying jobs out there in this field!
Email address: shwhite@wm.edu
Twitter:  @shannonwhite 

Each month we feature GeoMentor volunteers to showcase the wonderful talent available in our community to assist K-12 schools.

Read our full collection of GeoMentor spotlights online. Want to be featured? Information is available on our program website.
Name: Michael Timm
Position/Job and Affiliation: Milwaukee Water Stories Program Manager for the nonprofit Reflo Sustainable Water Solutions
What was your favorite class in K-12? Calculus with Mr. Glyzewski.
How did you first learn about and/or use GIS? Coming out of grad school at the UW-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences, I was briefly involved in a project that was to map green infrastructure opportunities across the City of Milwaukee. This project led to connecting with Reflo, where my role is to curate the Milwaukee Community Map. It's a free resource using the power of Google Earth to share local water stories and open up new ways for public audiences to explore our city and its relationship to water.
Name one thing you love about GIS and/or geography (I know, just one!): I love visualizing historic changes to the landscape. When I studied archaeology as an undergrad, I came to a simple yet profound realization that humans have literally shaped the landscape that surrounds us. The same is true for what I've dubbed our "waterscape." Historic map overlays in Google Earth allow us to dramatically toggle between views of what was, what is, and what could be in ways that were exponentially more difficult to visualize when I was a kid. Watching the Eames' 1977 video "Powers of Ten" was amazing even in the early 2000s. Now we take this zoomability between scales for granted every day. It's amazing.
Why did you want to volunteer as a GeoMentor? I wanted to help share the story of the free Milwaukee Community Map in Google Earth because our team is moving into a phase where the collection of stories and data available through the map is really quite robust--call it a digital pocketknife--AND we're adding new dynamic video content including what we call "Deeper Dives." I work with K-12 educators in the Milwaukee area and am excited about sharing this resource in ways that are meaningful for educators to inspire the next generation. Of course, folks outside our area may find the tool valuable as well--both as a model for how to leverage existing digital platforms to empower local groups around publicly accessible GIS data, AND as a compelling portrait of the ways so many entities in Milwaukee are leading the charge to transform the urban stormwater challenge faced by many metropolitan areas into a triple-bottom-line asset by integrating green infrastructure into the cultural fabric of our "Water-Centric City."
What kind of GeoMentor volunteer opportunity and experience are you looking for? I am open to sharing the Milwaukee Community Map with anyone, but particularly educators. We hope to organize some more free workshops over the coming year. Motivated educators and the map-curious can feel free to email me!
If someone asked you why they should learn about GIS and/or geography, how would you respond in one sentence? Learning geography opens up a hidden world of understanding relationships between wholes and parts that enriches our experience of place and empowers strategic and tactical decisions great and small.
Twitter:  @platypusfound

Each month we feature GeoMentor volunteers to showcase the wonderful talent available in our community to assist K-12 schools.

Read our full collection of GeoMentor spotlights online. Want to be featured? Information is available on our program website.
Name: Dave Cooper
Position: Planning GIS Tech, Columbus Consolidated Government
What was your favorite class in K-12? Science and Social Studies were my favorite classes.
How did you first learn about GIS? I started out as a graphic designer and was introduced to GIS by my supervisor. I fell in love with it and never looked back. It has been a wonderful career.
Why did you want to volunteer as a GeoMentor? I work with the kids at church and love sharing my experience with them. It's amazing when you get one of those "ah-ha" moments, when you see their faces light up in discovery. I wanted to share my love of geography with them as well. That was how I got involved with geomentoring, just a desire to share the thing I love with a new generation.
What kind of GeoMentor volunteer opportunity and experience are you looking for? I enjoy working with anyone who has an interest in learning about GIS and its many forms - young professionals, kids, anyone who wants to have fun and learn about GIS.
If someone asked you why they should learn about GIS and/or geography, how would you respond in one sentence? Are you kidding? One sentence? Hmmm...If you can imagine it you can map it, let your mind take you to far off places and then make a map of it!
Twitter: @DavidCooper5 

ATTN Southern New England Educators. Workshop opportunity announcement from Peter Stetson:

 

"I am hosting two workshops this summer for Southern New England educators called the "Power of Data". It is a NSF grant through Northern Arizona University designed to provide a basic understanding of Geospatial Inquiry. The workshop is for middle and high school educators. They will be paid $700 through the grant for their participation in a 5 day 35 hour workshop. They are asked to enhance a lesson they already use incorporating geospatial inquiry. Once they present the lesson students are asked to complete an anonymous survey after which the educators will be paid an additional $200.

 

Workshop 1 is June 24-28 in Woodward Hall at the University of Rhode Island and workshop 2 is in ASF Middle School, Coventry, RI August 19-23. Interested educators can contact me for more information or a link to the application. Applications are due April 26, 2019." 

 

Contact Peter at petestetson8@gmail.com.

Each month we feature GeoMentor volunteers to showcase the wonderful talent available in our community to assist K-12 schools.

Read our full collection of GeoMentor spotlights online. Want to be featured? Information is available on our program website

Name: Jennifer Marie Novy

Position/Job and Affiliation: GIS Technician III/Project Management & Engineering/Land Records

What was your favorite class in K-12: History

How did you first learn about and/or use GIS: I used mapping when I was in the military. My supervisor saw how much I enjoyed making/working with maps that he advised I seek a degree through the Denver University GIS department. I first took courses to obtain my GIS certificate; after completion, I decided to pursue my Masters in GIS. I successfully graduated from the GIS program in 2013. I have been making/working with maps ever since.

Name one thing you love about GIS and/or geography: People tend to learn better if there are visual pictures about a topic. GIS has significantly evolved, and with the help of GIS, maps paint a picture that helps end-users/customers better understand information. Working with customers and making maps for the public is my favorite thing about GIS.

Why did you want to volunteer as a GeoMentor: My son loves everything about maps and the work I do; he has inspired me to share my knowledge with today’s youth.

What kind of GeoMenter Volunteer opportunity and experience are you looking for: I am open to any opportunity to share GIS with the community. I have been doing GIS Day for the last three years and working for the public for the last 20 years. I love sharing GIS’s endless capabilities and how they can benefit from its use.

If someone asked you why they should learn about GIS and/or geography, how would you respond in one sentence: GIS can help individuals and organizations better understand spatial patterns and relationships, problem-solve, and make educated decisions.

Email: jennifer.novy@anchorageak.gov or novyjenniferm@gmail.com

Website(s): https://moa-muniorg.hub.arcgis.com/

The first GeoMentors newsletter issue of 2019 is out!  View the full issue here.

 

GeoMentor case studies document successful GeoMentoring engagements that not only show us how we can improve the program by learning from our GeoMentors' experiences, but also inspire and encourage other GeoMentors in their efforts! Check out our growing case study library to learn the different ways GeoMentors are working with the K-12 education community throughout the US. If you're interested in submitting your GeoMentor experience for a case study, we would appreciate you doing so through this survey.

 

Scott Freburg

Working in partnership with the Minnesota GIS/LIS ConsortiumMinnesota Department of EducationMinnesota Geospatial Information Office, and the Minnesota Alliance for Geographic Education

 

City/State of School, School District, or Group: Workshops, training and geomentoring in over 200 school districts,43 charter schools and 50+ non-publics in Minnesota between 2014 and 2019. A continuing program to equip K12 teachers with GIS education, mentoring and support.

 

Grade level of students you or your educator collaborator work/worked with: K12 teachers in grades 2-12 were represented. We developed workshops and training for 790+ K12 teachers through face-to-face meetings and training. These teachers mainly represented middle and high school curriculum, but we have had over 40 elementary teachers get engaged. This training and mentoring has resulted in Minnesota winning the last two National Map Competition contests at the high school level and 30 winners of our State's Map Competition for middle and high school students over the past three years.

 

Subject/topic of class/group you assisted your collaborator with: All topics, mainly Science and Geography/History, but including agriculture, math, reading and literature.

 

Approximately how many students were engaged in GIS activities through this collaboration: Unknown ... but a lot! We have had over 400 students enter our three years of Minnesota on the Map GIS competitions. With 790+ teachers we could be reaching somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 students, or more, with some form of GIS education.

 

 

How did you connect with your collaborator? We connect through email and phone to Scott Freburg at MDE, through our workshops, training and Educator Day series and through AAG geo-mentor signups and State of Minnesota geomentor invitations.

 

Describe your collaboration process. Our geo-mentoring program is on-going and multiplying annually. We have about 45 teacher-mentor relationships right now and hoping to grow that substantially. Some of these relationships are ever-growing resulting in long term growth.

 

Describe the tasks you assisted your collaborator with. Everything from visiting classrooms to helping students with their Map Competition story maps to helping teachers find, and bring in data to ArcGIS. Almost any GIS geospatial activity has been rendered to teachers through our geomentor relationships.

 

What available resources, if any, did you use or help your collaborator use to implement GIS in K-12 education? We have definitely used resources from the GeoMentors website. We have also utilized Esri grants, GIS/LIS funding and curriculum including geoinquiries, story maps, spatial analysis, survey123 and collector.

 

Did you develop any new educational materials or GIS activities through your collaboration? We are working on a set of Minnesota based geoinquiries. The URL below points to a few of the GIs that are being developed. The Shipwrecks geoinquiry was the first one has been showcased and utilized in multiple workshops and teacher mentoring. Later this year we should have 6-7 additional geoinquiries based solely on Minnesota data.

http://umn.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MinimalGallery/index.html?appid=4b2176a8beb842d493a3c762b65e0b54 

 

What did you gain from the experience? What do you think your educator collaborator and/or the students gained? Working with teachers and students to help them gain GIS knowledge and develop spatial thinking skills is the best thing I have done in my 30 years in GIS. Helping formulate and develop these trainings and geomentoring relationships and then hearing of success stories ... Priceless!

 

At some point in the future all of this and much more will be showcased on our Minnesota Geospatial website. This will be an all-in-one website for K12 teachers. It will hold videos, training, curriculum, data and will continually evolve. The website is www.mngiseducation.org. For now it is more of a holding place but by this time in 2020 we expect it to be up and running with tons of K12 information.

 

Any additional comments about your experience? Without the collaboration of so many organizations and GIS professionals around the state, this would not be possible. Minnesota is known for its rich GIS history and our entrance into the K12 world has been nothing short of incredible. Minnesota is proud to be a leader in GIS and in helping K12 teachers and students become more spatially educated.

 

Questions can be sent to Scott Freburg, scott.freburg@state.mn.us

Each month we feature GeoMentor volunteers to showcase the wonderful talent available in our community to assist K-12 schools.

Read our full collection of GeoMentor spotlights online. Want to be featured? Information is available on our program website.

 

Ashok Peddi
Position and Affiliation: GIS Instructor; Hyderabad, India
What was your favorite class in K-12? Social Sciences - History

How did you first learn about and/or use GIS? It was October 255 and I had joined a Masters in Geoinformatics program in the Department of Geography at Osmania University Hyderabad. It was my first day at college. I was fascinated to see the GIS and Remote Sensing lab room full of computers with huge screens. It was the first time I just clicked on Google Earth and it was an amazing experience. It was my first learning exposure to GIS and it gave me the enthusiasm for the rest of my life. Now I am a big fan of GIS and Maps.

Name one thing you love about GIS and/or geography. Capturing the reality is one of the biggest challenges that technology faces. The generation of 3D GIS data from reality capture sources is one of my favorite aspects of GIS.
Why did you want to volunteer as a GeoMentor? I was part of a CSR activity of my previous organization which had adopted a few government schools in the city where we used to teach English and Mathematics. I was a Point of Contact for a School and being a GIS Professional I started teaching Geography and GIS. The response was excellent. I am now teaching GIS and Geography in two other schools as well.
What kind of GeoMentor volunteer opportunity and experience are you looking for? I love teaching high school students. It is really a tremendous experience. I feel amazed by their response and it is really something new that they are learning. I am looking for an experience where I can brainstorm with them in terms of GIS and Remote Sensing Technologies. 
If someone asked you why they should learn about GIS and/or geography, how would you respond in one sentence? GIS helps you answer questions and solve problems by looking at your data in a way that is quickly understood and easily shared. GIS technology makes a difference in the world in part due to a wide variety of possible applications. Aside from trends and relationships, GIS skills can be useful for careers in real estate appraisal, retail, banking, natural resources management, emergency management and more.

Each month we feature GeoMentor volunteers to showcase the wonderful talent available in our community to assist K-12 schools.

Read our full collection of GeoMentor spotlights online. Want to be featured? Information is available on our program website.

 

Jenni Lansing
Position and Affiliation: Senior Environmental Research Analyst with the City of Minneapolis – Health Department
What was your favorite class in K-12? Biology
How did you first learn about and/or use GIS? I learned about it when I was in grad school at the University of Colorado at Denver. I took one online Introduction to GIS course and a Remote Sensing of the Environment course. At the time it seemed that GIS wasn’t being used as much as it is now and my thesis advisor approached me to work on a research project using GIS because I was one of the few people in my area of study with GIS experience.
Name one thing you love about GIS and/or geography. I love the sense of place that you get when you step out of your 3-dimensional world and see everything in relationship to each other on a map. I’m terrible at direction in my real world, but it all makes sense to me when I see it on a map!
Why did you want to volunteer as a GeoMentor? For me, it started as an opportunity to go into my own kids’ classrooms and share something that I love with them and their classmates. I wanted to be able to share with them a small aspect of what I do at work.
What kind of GeoMentor volunteer opportunity and experience are you looking for? I enjoy working with elementary aged kids. It’s amazing how naturally they respond to technology! It is very intuitive for them. I’m looking for an experience where I can introduce the students to something new that they may end up using throughout their education and career.
If someone asked you why they should learn about GIS and/or geography, how would you respond in one sentence? No matter what field you enter, there is likely a use to look at something geographically; experience with GIS will make you more marketable in your career.

The December 2018 GeoMentors newsletter is out (and has been for a little bit, but we were on holiday....)!  View the full issue here..