May 2015 GeoMentor Spotlight:  Paisly Di Bianca, US Environmental Protection Agency

Blog Post created by cluebbering on May 29, 2015

Each month, we'll feature at least one GeoMentor volunteer, learning a bit more about them to continue to build the GeoMentor community and show what wonderful and enthusiastic talent is available to assist K-12 schools with GIS and geography applications in their classrooms.  If you are interested in being featured, please contact  For our inaugural GeoMentor Spotlight, meet Paisly Di Bianca from the US Environmental Protection Agency!


Name:  Paisly Di Bianca


Position/Affiliation:  Environmental Protection Specialist / GIS Coordinator, US Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 Office, Chicago, IL


What was your favorite class in K-12?: In grammar school I loved our culture studies classes; in high school I devoted my time to studying Spanish and photography.


How did you first learn about and/or use GIS?: I’ve always enjoyed learning about new places. Before I “discovered” geography, I did my explorations through studying languages and Anthropology. After I graduated college, I worked as an Academic Advisor at Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU). I found myself telling students to study what drew their interest. I decided to follow my own advice and enrolled in NEIU’s MA program for Geography and Environmental Studies. I took a Cartography course as an elective; the instructor suggested I try a GIS course. I was hooked and never turned back. The work I do now for the EPA includes training staff on using geospatial technologies.


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


Why did you want to volunteer as a GeoMentor?: I never had anyone tell me how cool Geography was when I was in K-12. My hope is help expose young people to Geography sooner rather than later it so they can develop an appreciation of how it can apply to their careers in the future.


What kind of GeoMentor volunteer opportunity and experience are you looking for?: Since I am a GIS Specialist, I would be available to do workshops for students and/or teachers on how to use Esri’s tools (ArcGIS for Desktop and ArcGIS Online). As a Geographer, my research areas of interest are East Asia (focus Japan), urban geography, and linguistics so I could talk about those topics as well. I have experience teaching Pre-K through college so I am accustomed to working with a variety of age groups.


If someone asked you why they should learn about GIS and/or geography, how would you respond in one sentence?: Everything happens some place on the Earth so you can’t go wrong studying Geography!


Email address:




If you are interested in being featured, please contact