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For our fifth installment of Geography "In the Real World"-- where we showcase the accomplishment of GWU's Geography, Environmental Studies, and GIS students as they take their geographic education into real world work/study/research experiences-- we interviewed junior Geography major Juan Cortes, who spent Summer 2018 as a Cartographer in Morocco.

 

How did you first get involved in the geography department at GW? How are you involved now?

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Honestly, I found out about the Geography department through Intro to Physical Geography. It fulfilled a science requirement for Elliott so I took it, but I ended up really liking it. Through that, I learned about the Humanitarian Mapping Society (HMS, of which I am now Training Coordinator) and GIS. I really love the department, its faculty, and the people I study with.

 

What positions have you held in the field of geography? And how did you find out about this opportunity?

I worked over the summer in Marrakech, Morocco with the High Atlas Foundation, an NGO involved with mitigating rural poverty all throughout the country. I found out about that opportunity because I had a friend who worked there previously who recommended that I apply.

Image result for High Atlas Foundation

What were your responsibilities within that position?

I worked as a cartographer, helping them make maps of their forestry projects at various different scales and general representations of their activities. I also helped them to organize their data collection process and showed some workers how to use GPS units.

 

What valuable skills did you learn there, and how has the experience shaped your thinking?

The biggest thing I learned is that there are always going to be problems when working with GIS, but there are workarounds, and you have to be persistent and look for them. I also learned that analysis is really dependent on how much data is available, so you have to get creative with how to work with limited resources. I think it all comes down to persistence and thinking outside the box.

 

How did your previous experience in geographic education at GW prepare you for this opportunity?

Intro to Cartography and GIS with Professor Hinton prepared me really well for this opportunity by teaching me the fundamentals of GIS and cartography. But I think the most important thing I brought with me was that Professor Hurley made it abundantly clear that working with GIS in class and working with GIS in the field are two vastly different things. He really stressed to me that it’s important not to panic when things don’t work, because solutions do exist. I wasn’t so stunned by an actual work environment because I more or less knew what to expect, thanks to him.

 

Have you completed a geography-oriented internship? Job? Study abroad? Ad-hoc field work? Independent research? Let us know! We are interviewing current (and past) GW Geography students who have taken their geography knowledge into the “real world.” If you are interested in sharing your experience, please send an e-mail to siofinnerty@gwu.edu

For our fourth installment of Geography "In the Real World"-- where we showcase the accomplishment of GWU's Geography, Environmental Studies, and GIS students as they take their geographic education into real world work/study/research experiences-- we interviewed junior Geography major and GIS minor Gavin Derleth, who presented at the Race, Ethnicity and Place Conference in Austin, Texas this semester.

What are you doing research on?

I'm doing research on gentrification within Columbia Heights neighborhood in DC and the affect this has had on the demographics and makeup of the community itself.

...continue reading "“In the Real World” Interview with Gavin Derleth, Presenter at the Race, Ethnicity, and Place Conference, Fall 2018 | Siobhan Finnerty"

For the third installment of Geography "In the Real World"-- where we showcase the accomplishment of GWU's Geography, Environmental Studies, and GIS students as they take their geographic education into real world work/study experiences-- we interviewed junior Environmental Studies and Geography double major Lucy Hummer, Canvasser for the Clean Water Action, Spring 2018.

How did you first get involved in the geography department at GW? How are you involved now?

I became involved with the geography department as an Environmental Studies major when I came to GW as a freshman! I actually applied to GW as a Biology major, but switched to Environmental Studies before my freshman year even began, because I realized that is where my passion lies. I see environmental issues as one of, if not the most, pressing challenges that the world is facing today. I am super inspired by all of the research and work that is being done throughout the Geography department at GW to work towards dealing with these massive challenges.

And, after taking the Introduction to Cartography and GIS class required for the Environmental Studies major, I determined that I wanted to major in geography as well. So now I'm involved as a double major within the department!

...continue reading "“In the Real World” Interview with Lucy Hummer, Canvasser for Clean Water Action, Spring/Summer 2018 | Siobhan Finnerty"

For the second installment of Geography "In the Real World"-- where we showcase the accomplishment of GWU's Geography, Environmental Studies, and GIS students as they take their geographic education into real world work/study experiences-- we interviewed junior Geography major and GIS minor Hannah Ellingson, Intern for the American Association of Geographers, Spring 2018.

 

How did you first get involved in the geography department at GW? How are you involved now?

I came to GW with a preexisting interest in geography that I developed in high school. Fall of freshman year I took Human Geography with Professor Dymond and Political Geography with Professor Cullen to see how I liked geography classes at the university level-- I loved both classes, particularly political geography! I declared a geography major and GIS minor at the end of my first year, and I’ve loved it so far.

...continue reading "“In the Real World” Interview with Hannah Ellingson, Intern at the American Association of Geographers, Spring 2018 | Siobhan Finnerty"

For the first installment of Geography "In the Real World"-- where we showcase the accomplishment of GWU's Geography, Environmental Studies, and GIS students as they take their geographic education into real world work/study experiences-- we interviewed senior Geography major Sarah Cassius to talk about her experience this past summer interning for the Department of Environment and Urban Planning in Medellin, Colombia.

 

How did you first get involved in the geography department at GW? How are you involved now?

I started GW as a student in the Elliott School, concentrating in International Environmental Studies. I accidentally took 3 geography classes during the first semester of my Sophomore year to count toward International Affairs (GEOG 1001, 1002, and 1003) and loved them all. I realized that I was so passionate about what I was learning, which I didn’t feel in my previous Elliott classes, so I added on a double major and I strongly believe it was the best decision I’ve ever made.

...continue reading "“In the Real World” Interview with Sarah Cassius, Intern at the Department of Environment and Urban Planning, Medellin, Colombia Summer 2018 | Siobhan Finnerty"