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 the talent and enthusiasm available to assist K-12 schools with GIS and geography applications in their classrooms. If you are interested in being featured, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. This month's GeoMentor Spotlight is Joseph Becker an Advisor/Advocate for GIS Scholars!
Name: Joseph Becker
Position/Job and Affiliation (or Student Level and University): Advisor/Advocate for GIS Scholars
What was your favorite class in K-12? My favorite course was History - it took me to different Times and Places.
How did you first learn about and/or use GIS? I first learned about GIS as a Transportation Planner in the last 70's. I was part of a Team that developed a mainframe carpool and transit matching program in response to Iran's Oil Embargo. The environment was Very different from today with lots of paper maps, punch cards, Letraset and colored pencils!!!
Name one thing you love about GIS and/or geography (I know, just one!): Having grown up in City neighborhoods, I loved that it could take me places I had never been.
Why did you want to volunteer as a GeoMentor? As a City Planner in the early 90's, I had over 25 high school and college students work on building the GIS and providing services to other departments. As a Consultant for a Public Safety firm, I was able to train and mentor many young professionals. Since 2006, I have volunteered for many agencies using GIS to enhance their services. My latest efforts have been serving as Advisor/Advocate for a group of youth called the GIS Scholars.
What kind of GeoMentor volunteer opportunity and experience are you looking for? I want to continue to help the GIS Scholars grow but I also want to network with other individuals and organizations across the country that want to advance geospatial learning in urban school districts.
If someone asked you why they should learn about GIS and/or geography, how would you respond in one sentence?: If You don't know where You are, it will be very difficult to know where You are going.