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(124 Posts)
Occasional Contributor

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: Lauren Sinclair
Position/Job and Affiliation: Middle School GIS Teacher! It's my dream job!
What was your favorit class in K-12? I loved it all. I think that's why I'm a teacher. But in undergrad my favorite classes were all geography... so I asked my favorite geography professor for advice on learning more. Because of his awesome advice I tried my first GIS and ended up at PSU studying geomorphology and GIS for my master's.
How did you first learn about and/or use GIS? My first GIS experience is freeze-framed in my memory, which is exactly why I love recreating that magical experience for my students every semester. It was an exploration of the Ring of Fire on an early version of ArcMap in 2005 or so... what I remember most was following the directions and turning on the volcanoes layer, the earthquakes layer, and then the plate boundaries layer... and I felt like I had discovered plate tectonics myself! My immediate thought was "kids have got to try this!"
Name one thing you love about GIS and/or geography. GIS has evolved to be more intuitive and user friendly every year. It's already at a point where my 6th-8th graders learn how to use ArcGISOnline independently over the course of about 30 hours in one semester... and some of my 8th graders are honestly better at spatial analysis than I am by the end of the semester. That's powerful. That tells me that we need to give youth more opportunities to use this technology earlier... we shouldn't wait until an undergraduate program to introduce people to GIS!
GeoMentor Lauren Sinclair
Why did you want to volunteer as a GeoMentor? I guess I see myself as a GeoMentor advocate. When I started turning the technology class at my middle school into a GIS class, I had no idea what to do, so I reached out to the GeoMentor network and connected to some of my PSU professors. They got me from crawling to running in no time! I've since invited dozens of GIS professionals to my classroom and encouraged them to become GeoMentors. It's important for my students to meet GIS professionals in person and see the huge range of applications for the technology. They've met people from Esri, MapBox, Quantum Spatial, Extensis, Portland State University, Portland Community College, and more! There are so many more classrooms out there that will never experience GIS without the encouragement and support of a GeoMentor, which is why I'm always encouraging GIS professionals to visit a classroom!
What kind of GeoMentor volunteer opportunity and experience are you looking for?  Most teachers don't know about GIS and don't know what to do with it, so I encourage GeoMentors to take an existing resource and volunteer to teach it themselves with the teacher's support. Teachers are so busy... it's overwhelming to consider trying new technology. But if someone is willing to visit my classroom and say "Hey! You sit back and sip your coffee and just help me keep the kids on their best behavior, and I'll teach the lesson"...I'll say yes to that in a heartbeat! I recommend that GeoMentors offer to teach an activity like this one I just published with Esri's LearnArcGIS team, or a GeoInquiry. The GeoInquiries are great because you can ask your child's teacher "what are you studying right now?" and then find an existing GeoInquiry that matches almost any topic! Everything is ready for you: the GIS is ready for students, there are worksheets you can print... they're ready to go in 5 minutes. I've brought GeoInquiries into my colleagues' classrooms in almost every subject, and they're always amazed at how easy and engaging they are. Now they're teaching GeoInquiries themselves! That's the dream... that a GeoMentor sparks a fire that keeps burning after they leave the classroom.
If someone asked you why they should learn about GIS and/or geography, how would you respond in one sentence?  The kids in school right now are the meme generation; they communicate visually. That means they're primed to communicate with GIS! I want the world to catch on to this perfect match and put GIS in as many classrooms as possible.
Email: MrsSinclairMaps@gmail.com

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Occasional Contributor

The latest GeoMentor newsletter is out! Vol. 6, No. 3 for June 2020 (emailed out on June 30th - so just making that 'June' qualification and perfectly hitting the halfway point of the year!). Check it out for GeoMentor reports from the field, resources for GIS and equity issues, and more. Questions, comments, activities or resources to share?  Contact us at geomentors@aag.org

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Occasional Contributor

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: Bethany Hall
Position/Job and Affiliation: GIS Coordinator with Consolidated Utility District of Rutherford County
What was your favorite class in K-12? CAD and art classes

How did you first learn about and/or use GIS?  A friend introduced me to GIS as I was a draftsman at a local electric utility in 2001. A year later, I quit my full-time job and took a part-time position with the City of Murfreesboro's Planning Department to learn GIS as a GIS Technician. Since 2002, I have been working in GIS

 

Name one thing you love about GIS and/or geography: Topology

 

Why did you want to volunteer as a GeoMentor? I love talking about GIS and introducing others to how they can solve problems.

 

What kind of GeoMentor volunteer opportunity and experience are you looking for? I enjoy talking to high school students about career opportunities in GIS. I've helped young people and even semi-retired folks change careers.

 

If someone asked you why they should learn about GIS and/or geography, how would you respond in one sentence? GIS allows my analytical and artistic parts of my brain to dance while solving problems.

 

Email: bhall1821@outlookcom or bhall@cudrc.com

Websites: LinkedIn

Twitter: @bhall1821

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Occasional Contributor

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 Camponovo
Position/Job and Affiliation: GIS Outreach Coordinator, Geography Department, University of Tennessee Knoxville
What was your favorite class in K-12? Survey of Literature with Gloria Oster at Sullivan South High School. I always liked to read but she introduced me to so many new authors and literary styles.

How did you first learn about and/or use GIS?  I was an undergraduate student at TN Technological University in Cookeville, TN studying Soil Science and my advisor said I should take “one of those computer mapping classes” as an elective. I haven’t stopped learning about GIS since then.

 

Name one thing you love about GIS and/or geography: I love the interdisciplinary nature of GIS, I have the opportunity to work with so many talented professionals and researchers to help them answer questions and solve problems that I otherwise would never know existed.

 

Why did you want to volunteer as a GeoMentor? I want young people in Tennessee to know that geography and GIS are a viable career path that lead to a lot challenging and engaging opportunities.

 

What kind of GeoMentor volunteer opportunity and experience are you looking for? My biggest goal right now is to help classroom teachers find ways to integrate GIS into their already existing curriculum… but that hasn’t stopped us from visiting schools with our augmented reality sandbox, our portable stream table, or our SimTable to help teach physical geography concepts.

 

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

 

Email: mcampono@utk.edu

Websites: UTK GIS Lab; MEGA:BITESS Academy; Opioids in Tennesee storymap; Tennessee Geographic Alliance Open Data Portal

Twitter: @mcamponovo

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Occasional Contributor

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: Deborah Huber, GISP
Position/Job and Affiliation: GIS Analyst, NAVFAC EURAFCENT, GeoReadiness Center Naples, Italy
What was your favorite class in K-12? Marine Biology

How did you first learn about and/or use GIS?  I was a CAD Tech and used .shp files to start concept plans for laying out new subdivisions for rezoning applications. My GIS guy had to take a month off, so he taught me how to extract my own .shp files. I was hooked and eventually took over his job when he left for an Environmental Engineering firm. I followed him there a year later. We are still friends.

 

Name one thing you love about GIS and/or geography: I was fascinated by my Dad’s National Geographic magazines as a kid. I’d read every bit of every issue – and especially loved the maps. GIS is a way to “visit” a place without actually traveling there. Now that I am working this contract in Italy, I’m able to visit in-person some of the places I’d only seen in aerial imagery. Bonus: The famous Map Gallery at the Vatican is just an hour train ride away!

 

Why did you want to volunteer as a GeoMentor? My previous employer had an annual STEM program. The students spend a week with us and we teach them about our career paths – Architectural, Engineering…and GIS. Most kids walk in having no idea what GIS is. It was great to see their eyes light up as they realize they’ve been using GIS for years (navigating in their cell phones). Now they have a small idea of that process...as well as how data is collected using Trimble equipment and cellphone apps.

What kind of GeoMentor volunteer opportunity and experience are you looking for? I’m hoping once I get settled in here that we can start a STEM program for the local students.

If someone asked you why they should learn about GIS and/or geography, how would you respond in one sentence? Because EVERYTHING is SOMEWHERE! Let that sink in. Knowing what “it” is and where “it” is, is SO VITAL to keeping society running – emergency services, logistics, asset management, infrastructure….everything comes back to what and where. It is inescapable. To me, GIS is like putting together a huge jigsaw puzzle – all the data and geometry fits together to make an image of what really exists in the world.

Email: Deborah.Huber.STX@gmail.com

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Occasional Contributor

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

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Occasional Contributor

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

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Occasional Contributor

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

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Occasional Contributor

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 

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