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. The GIS Program is currently led by Director Erica McMaster. Our mission is to provide Washington College students with experiential learning opportunities, providing a professional working experience to compliment 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 a resource fostering high tech skills and professional development to compliment academic courses steeped in the Liberal Arts tradition. We leverage 21st century technologies to the ancient art of cartography, framing the world geospatially for students. By providing classes, training, curricular support and paid working experience for undergrads we serve the Washington College community in helping to create the next generation of our 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(s), aiming to match students with
funded project opportunities that will better prepare them for future careers.

We currently employ students representing 13 distinct academic majors, 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 understanding of geospatial technology tools and rate of pay. At the highest (5th) rank students are required to have conference presentation experience, teaching experience, and project management experience. These tend to be juniors and graduating seniors who help train the newer student hires, as they were trained, in an unbroken chain stretching close to a decade.