Rock S. Agbunag, Information Services Manager St. Johns County, Florida
What was your favorite class in K-12? Growing up in the Philippines, we had a class called Citizen Army Training. We were thought basic military drills, reading maps (I guess it all started here), and basic survival skills. When I moved to the US and still learning the English language, Math came easy since it was a universal language and Chemistry was just awesome.
How did you first learn about and/or use GIS? I was a Computer Science major at FSU and I was doing COBOL conversion involving Y2K issues for FDOT. I was getting burn out with programming for school and for work. I wanted to do something different and something new. My manager at FDOT told me look into the upcoming technology called GIS. FSU started offering GIS classes in the track of Geography and Urban Regional Planning. I pursued this GIS track in attempt to not do programming anymore. Then I came across ArcInfo’s AML and ArcView’s Avenue (remember these?) and scripting/programing just came naturally working in GIS. These GIS skills later transitioned me into web/app development, into database administrations, and now more into systems integrations. I eventually got my graduate degree from Boston University focusing on Computer Information Systems and Project Management so I can further apply this to my GIS profession.
Name one thing you love about GIS and/or geography (I know, just one!): Geography is amazing... It allows me to explore and understand the relationship between us as humans and our environment.
Why did you want to volunteer as a GeoMentor? A colleague from our regional GIS group (NEFGIS) introduced me to a local K-12 teacher that wanted incorporate GIS as part of the school’s Career Academy program. I wanted to do my part to give back, inspire students, and increase awareness of using GIS as a platform.
What kind of GeoMentor volunteer opportunity and experience are you looking for? Anyway I can offer assistance from starting to use GIS and how to incorporate it with a class curriculum. I want an opportunity where I can showcase how users are using GIS and how it benefits school and the community.
If someone asked you why they should learn about GIS and/or geography, how would you respond in one sentence? GIS is so easy use that it will enable you to make sensible judgement about matters involving the relationship between our physical environment and society.
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