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Geographic Information Systems

Meet the Staff

Alicia Shipley

1.) What is your position at the GIS program and what does it entail? 

My position is the GIS Analyst II for the Maryland Highway Safety Office (MHSO) grant. I could ramble on about the intricacies of my position, but I’ll share the abridged version: the most important part of my job is to supervise and train over 15 students. I work with the students to teach them GIS and help them manage and work on projects within the MHSO grant. Under the grant, I analyze crashes and citations to improve traffic safety in the state. Using GIS I’m able to map and find spatial/non-spatial trends to assist law enforcement and traffic safety professionals in executive decision-making. All in all, my position at the GIS Program is very rewarding by having the opportunity to train students and assist law enforcement to make a difference in our state. 
2.)  How long have you worked here/ in the field? 

I have worked at the GIS Program and have been in the GIS field for a little over six years. 

3.) #WhatCanGISDoForYou? 

It can do above and beyond anything you could imagine. Apply it to any and all fields. GIS has been able to fuel my creativity and my analytical ability. With degrees in both English and Psychology, I have found that GIS can be applied to both my skill-sets. Never underestimate the power of GIS and it’s capabilities. For me, GIS can bring a unique aspect to my passions and can help me see things in a different way. 

4.) What advice do you have for interns at the program?  

Chase after your dreams. Don’t let anyone or anything stop you. Always strive for more; you will surprise yourself with the level of work you can accomplish when you continually seek growth. Use your creativity and brilliant minds to come up with unique products and analyses. I’ve found as a supervisor over the years that my interns feel the most proud and accomplished when I allow them the freedom to create and put their ideas into practice. Always remember, no idea is a bad idea, and to tell your supervisor if you have an idea that you’d like to implement. We want to hear your ideas and want you to not only work here, but to feel like you are a part of something greater. You all work on projects that are helping make a difference in this world, and I want you all to know just how important you are to our Program and how much we all appreciate your hard work!

 

Lauren Grauer 

1.) What is your position at the GIS program and what does it entail?

I am the GIS Technician under the MHSO (Maryland Highway Safety Office) Grant here at the Washington College GIS Program. I assist in the design and creation of databases, maps, and other related projects, as well as provide technical assistance.  I assist the other analysts on the grant in analyzing crash and citation data in the state of Maryland. One of the main things we do is identify locations of high crash locations and where citations have been given. Every project that we work on requires different analysis and tasks, though. I also design many infographics and map layouts for our various projects.  

2.)  How long have you worked here / in the field?  

I have worked here about 8 months; I started in late February. This is my first professional job in this field. I studied Geography and took GIS classes at UMBC during my undergraduate career so I had some background knowledge before I was hired. 

3.) #WhatCanGISDoForYou?  

GIS has given me many opportunities in the time I have been a GIS user. I have learned skills I know I will use for the rest of my professional career. Whether that be teamwork, critical thinking, or leadership, GIS has taught it to me and I can’t wait to see what else I will learn!  

4.) What advice do you have for interns at the program? 

Please know that we are not born with GIS and ESRI knowledge! Don’t be afraid to ask staff members questions! As a new staff member and GIS user, I know asking questions may be difficult but it will truly help you learn! Myself and the rest of the Washington College GIS Program Staff are always willing to help with whatever a student may need.  

Also! Take advantage of the opportunities the GIS Program gives you, whether that be DUI ride along’s, conferences, presentations, or any other type of event. When you are at some kind of event with other GIS professionals, don’t be afraid to speak with them and introduce yourself. You never know what kind of opportunity will come up! 

Kelsey Newcomb 

1.) What is your position at the GIS program and what does it entail? 

am the Assistant Coordinator at the GIS Program. I assist the GIS Program Director, Erica McMaster in the coordination and execution of business operations for the GIS Program. I am currently employed under all grants and projects here at the lab, coordinating GIS program internships for student workers and managing procedural relationships with internal and external departments, organizations, and/or entities. I also assist with the product development on our Vehicle Theft grant. My main focus is making sure everything in the lab runs smoothly on a daily basis! 

2.) How long have you worked here / in the field? 

After I graduated from Towson University in December 2014, I started working at the GIS Program in February 2015 as the GIS Office Manager. In October 2017 I was promoted to GIS Assistant Coordinator, so in a couple months I will be here for 5 years. 

3.) #WhatCanGISDoForYou? 

GIS teaches us many things and has a lot of uses, but currently GIS has taught me collaboration. In order to be fully successful in GIS you need to share and collaborate with each other to find the answers you are looking for.  

4.) What advice do you have for interns at the program?   

Do not be afraid to speak up and ask questions. The staff at the GIS Program are your biggest supporters and we want to help you succeed, so please do not be afraid to come to us with any questions or concerns you may have! 

Glen Sine

1.) What is your position at the GIS program and what does it entail?

I am the GIS Senior Analysis for the Washington College GIS Program. I am working on the Maryland Highway Safety Office (MHSO) Grant, analyzing crash and citation data. My primary duties are to analyze crash and citations to identify locations of high crash rates or citations issued, including being able to identify the most likely route traveled. I also assist in configuring and administering services, tools, and products in the enterprise portals as well as ArcGIS Online. In addition, I work with students to increase their knowledge of GIS through real world requests and analysis. 

2.) How long have you worked here / in the field? 

I have worked at the GIS Program for approximately nine months, but I have been in the GIS profession for approximately 15 years, in which time I was also afforded the opportunity to receive a graduate degree in GIS Management. I have been fortunate enough to work within a multitude of focus areas within GIS, some of which include: Environmental, Public Safety (Police and Fire), Utility, Airport Operations, Information Technology (Portal Administration, Compute and Software troubleshooting, etc), and Transportation (including currently analyzing crash and citations). 

3.) #WhatCanGISDoForYou? 

GIS has enabled me to gain a wide variety of skills that I may not have been introduced to in another profession. It has introduced me to survey data collection utilizing sub centimeter grade equipment, network analysis for utilities, in-state and out of state travel to job locations, professional conferences, and meetings. I have also had the opportunity to learn and administer GIS in an enterprise server environment, as well as automating tasks to reduce time and effort in recurring tasks. #WhatCanGISDoForYou? Really the sky is the limit. Everything happens at a particular spatial location on, above, or under the Earth. 

4.) What advice do you have for interns at the program? 

Advice that I would give to anyone interested in GIS, either as a profession, or to compliment another profession, is to try to become a Subject Matter Expert (SME) in what ever you are working on. Try to understand the data, what information is included, where the data came from, and what limitations are there with the data. In addition to knowing the data and software, keep a log of the projects that you have worked on, include examples (if allowed by the program) in either print or digital format, so you have a portfolio to show during an interview. Create and maintain a LinkedIn account, this will allow you to connect with, and build your professional network before you graduate. Participate in as many opportunities to meet people and see how others are using GIS to solve their requests. Finally, apply for positions early. Public Sector positions can take 4 months up to 6 months (or more, depending on variables) to run through the posting, selection of candidates for interview, interviews, and offer. 

 

Luis Machado

1.) What is your position at the GIS program and what does it entail? 

I am the GIS Development Manager. My role is split between project management and business development, which means I spend some parts of my week supervising and training students as they work on projects and some parts of my week working on the proposals and client relationships that will hopefully lead to the next project students will be working on. As a generalist at the GIS Program, my role tends to be defined by the opportunity to provide a broad range of support on our various grants and academic projects. You are as likely to find me on campus talking to a professor or staff member, in a meeting at the GIS Program with a new or regular partner, or in my office churning out emails and working on some narrative language for the GIS Program.

2.) How long have you worked here / in the field?

I started working at the GIS Program in the fall of 2011 as an undergraduate for then-Program Coordinator Stewart Bruce. After getting a BA in 2013, I was hired as full-time staff and worked until 2014, when I went off to graduate school. I came back in 2015 and managed to work at the GIS Program while juggling graduate school in Texas. I received my MS in 2016 and was hired as a Project Manager that fall. Depending on how you do the math, that’s about 8 years of working in the field of GIS.

3.) #WhatCanGISDoForYou? 

 

Jack Dangermond is the founder and president of Esri, the global market leader in GIS and location intelligence. He gave a keynote speech a few years ago where he extolled the potential of GIS in saying, “The limit to GIS is your imagination.” 

In a world saturated with data, being able to work with it is vital. Knowing that all data is created somewhere in space, having an understanding of the relationship of phenomena in space and being able to work with data in a spatial way provides what is currently a perspective with only one limit; your imagination. You tell me #WhatCanGISDoForYou?

4.) What advice do you have for interns at the program?  

The staff of the Washington College GIS Program are willing to run themselves into the ground to create opportunities, support your growth, and help you thrive. Scary as it can be to talk to a boss or a supervisor, making the time to have that conversation and that connection is worth the 15 seconds of courage it takes to walk up and ask if you can talk to them. 

We exist as an organization to provide for you. Take advantage of our abilities, our knowledge, our connections, and are sheer willingness to be here for you. Be bold and reach out. Tell us what you want. Tell us when things are going well and when they aren’t. We trust you to be open with us about what is happening so we can take that information and use it to make things better.