Advice from Alumni

Wise Words from Our Alumni

What recommendations would you make to current GEOG/GIS/ENSP majors for career and academic success while they are still undergraduates?

Find an "outside the box" type of internship while in undergrad. My time at the Greenbelt Fire Department was invaluable to my development with practical geography. A lot of the skills I developed there directly translate to the work I am doing currently with Harpoon. Take full advantage of the resources at your disposal through the department. You are fortunate enough to be part of one of the best Geography departments in the entire country and maximizing your time there will be very beneficial in the long run." - Danny Levine, Maryland and Delaware Territory Manager at Harpoon Brewery, GEOG Class of 2011

"Take some classes that you genuinely find interesting, both in your major and outside of it. When you are in the workforce the opportunities to learn new things outside of your immediate job needs diminish, so take advantage of the diverse learning experiences UMD has to offer. You should also take a programming class if you can, because that is a valuable skill in any occupation." - Elise Alkire, Cartographer at US Census Bureau, GEOG Class of 2008

"Make sure to network-I like this one a lot! When I say network I mean build genuine relationships with professors, school faculty, other students, etc. These same relationships can prove to be beneficial to both parties and will come in handy when you may need an academic reference, job hunting, mentoring, etc." - Enobong "Eno" Etuk, Consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton, GIS Class of 2015

"Seek creative internships, even in non-traditional and non-governmental sectors. Geographic skills are needed in many new businesses, start-ups and in non-traditional industry sectors. People with geographic skills are building apps and platforms daily for transit agencies, tourism, housing and other sectors. Explore these while still in school and find out how your skills might be used in the creative and sharing economy (beyond being an Uber driver). Find ways to renew the places where you live now or plan to live. Use your geographic skills to advance new ideas in the creative economy. If you begin doing this in school it will make the transition to the outside world more seamless after graduation." - David Whitaker, GEOG Class of 1983

What recommendations would you make to current GEOG/GIS/ENSP majors for career and academic success after graduation?

"Make sure that you have a portfolio and resume ready to show off! Employers are always using social media to their advantage and so should you. If you do not have one already create a LinkedIn account, also clean up your Facebook, you want to look as professional as possible. Before you graduate make a few good connections with professors who are professionals in fields of interest to you. You may need a recommendation or two."- John Nordling, GIS Class of 2012

"Volunteer! Internships and more formal research partnerships are important, but volunteering is a great way to get to know an organization and get your name out there. Job hunting can be terrible, so this is a great way to show that you are using this post-graduation time to stay current and give back to the community." - Rachel Levine, Operations and Training Coordinator for the GIS Team at the American Red Cross, GEOG Class of 2004

"Remember – you don’t need your career or dream job right after school, paths aren’t linear, just keep working and you’ll get to where you need to go. Even if you have to veer off the path for a few years. Also, if you are hesitant about grad school, there is nothing wrong with taking a break before starting – work and life experience may lead you to a better, more appropriate program for your goals (exactly how I found my program which lead me to my current job)." - Allison Gost, Project Manager at Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, ENSP Land Use Class of 2012

"Always network and keep learning. The GIS field is constantly changing so it is important to keep up with the new technologies. I would also recommend attending the ESRI Federal GIS conference and see what is new in the GIS field." - Daniel Martin, Survey Statistician at US Census Bureau, GEOG Class of 2013, MPSGIS Class of 2015