About Us

The Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Program at Washington College was established in 2003 by Dr. John Seidel, Director of the Center for Environment and Society, and Dr. Wayne Bell. We are currently led by Director Erica McMaster. Our mission is to provide Washington College students with experiential learning opportunities and professional working experience to complement their Liberal Arts education.

What does the GIS Program do?

Since its inception, more than 300 Washington College undergraduates have benefited from paid work experiences through the GIS Program.

At Washington College, we provide resources fostering high tech skills and professional development to complement academic courses steeped in a Liberal Arts tradition. We apply 21st-Century technologies to the ancient art of cartography, framing the world geospatially for our students. By providing classes, training, curricular support, and paid working experiences for undergraduates, we serve the Washington College community by building the next generation of technology ambassadors to the world. 

The GIS Program currently employs 50+ students at its off-campus location in the Chestertown Business Park. We focus on hiring students for their aptitude as well as their interest, matching students with funded project opportunities that will better prepare them for their careers.

Our current student employees represent 13 different academic majors, all working within a modified guild structure. Students at the GIS Program are hired and promoted within the guild structure through five ranks depending on their work experience and skill development.

Each successive rank reflects an increased level of responsibility, technical mastery of geospatial technology tools, and rate of pay. At the highest (5th) rank, students are required to have experience in conference presentation, teaching, and project management. These tend to be juniors and graduating seniors who help train newer student hires, just as they were trained, in an unbroken chain nearly a decade long.