Congratulations to our August Alumni of the Month, Matthew Silski! Matthew graduated from the Masters of Professional Studies in GIS program in 2014. He currently works as a GIS Analyst for Wasatch Front Regional Council in Salt Lake City, UT.
What is a recent project that you have worked on that you have drawn on skills from the MPS program?
Recently, I was tasked with creating an interactive map for public commenting on transportation projects in Utah. Using my experience from a project I completed in the GIS and Spatial Modeling course, I built a complex Model Builder model/script that captured additional locational information corresponding to those comments. I created a distinct street intersection dataset and assigned the closest intersection name and street name to public comments with vague locational descriptions.
How have the skills you have learned in the MPS program helped you progress in your career?
Having a well-rounded GIS skill set has helped me progress in my career thus far. The MPS program provides courses in most technical GIS focus areas. I have found it very valuable to be an asset to my organization in everything from GIS analysis to web programming to GIS project management.
What drew you to the MPS GIS program at Maryland?
When I was preparing to graduate from Brigham Young University with a bachelor’s degree in GIS, I found that the University of Maryland offered an online master’s program in GIS. As a Maryland native, I was interested in pursuing an advanced degree close to home if I could not find full-time work somewhere. After I graduated and obtained full-time work in Houston, my mother reminded me that I could still complete the online program while working in Texas. So I did!
What advice can you give current and prospective students about the MPS program?
If you want to get the most out of this great program, you need to do more than the minimum of completing assignments just to get good grades. When you have a course project to complete, choose something you are interested in, stretch yourself, and try to learn something new.
With GIS being such an expanding field, it is especially important to keep up with the industry. I recommend becoming familiar with new and innovative tools available at your disposal. If you have a “can-do” attitude when it comes to solving problems with GIS and you know which tools to use, I think you will be very successful in your career and other pursuits.
What are some of your hobbies/interests?
Ever since I was young, I have enjoyed tracking the progress of local and regional transportation and land use projects. I suppose it comes with working for a metropolitan planning organization. In my spare time, I follow Major League Baseball and keep up with both the Nationals and Orioles.
Anything else you'd like to add?
I highly recommend the MPS GIS program to current and prospective GIS professionals. I was able to complete the degree program while working full-time with a wife and new baby at home.
Thank you for the kind words Matthew! We're so glad that the MPSGIS program was a great fit for you and that you've been so successful since. Keep in touch!