Meet Paul Lai, our July Alumni of the Month! Paul graduated with a Bachelor's degree in GIS in 2016. Paul currently works as a Technical Consultant for IBM.
What internships or independent research did you do as a GEOG/GIS/ENSP major?
Facilities Management (with the University of Maryland): worked with GIS tools and applications for front end development.
FedCentric: learned about cyber security working on spark and insider threat protection.
CattLab (Center for Transportation Technology): GIS development.
What do you do at your current job?
I am currently doing procurement of goods with clients from all over the world. I work with the software to be able to do supply chain along with teaching other venders how to use the software.
Source orders of pharmaceuticals, diagnostics tests, and medical equipment to be sent to 39 countries – predominately in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia’s Mekong Region in support of the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI).
What recommendations would you make to current GEOG/GIS/ENSP majors for career and academic success while they are still undergraduates?
I would recommend that they do as many internships in many different fields and gain a lot of experience as possible. Network with a lot of people and make connections to gain more exposure to what you are interested in and push and get out there and try to do as much as possible. Also, do not let your degree be the only thing that is giving you leverage because the more skills you have the more marketable you become. Look for what you are passionate about and try to gain exposure in those fields and set goals for you to get closer to what you are passionate about.
What recommendations would you make to current GEOG/GIS/ENSP majors for career and academic success after graduation?
Do not think that your first job will be your dream job. Also, do not be afraid to do something because you are not good at it, I would say give everything a chance and try to go above and beyond and get good at it. Once you get good at something then make the decision to whether is it right for you. I would say get comfortable being uncomfortable because that will lead to growth. Allow yourself to take in as much as possible and to never stop learning.
What do you miss the most about UMD?
The thing that I miss most about UMD is the people and the memories that I made with others at the university. I miss the support system that the university provides to help students succeed, thank you to Keith Yearwood for always having your door open to talk and give me career advice and life advice.
What are some of your hobbies/interests?
Rock climbing, watching movies, hanging out with friends, traveling, trying new foods
Anything else you’d like to add?
I would like to give thanks to Keith Yearwood, Naijun Zhou, and Allen Eney for the advice in life and the lessons in the classroom and for always going above and beyond to help students to succeed in their goals and passions. Thank you as well for Amanda Hoffman Hall for allowing me to come speak to her GEOG212 class about my experience and a chance to give back.
We're always thrilled to have such sucessful alumni come speak in GEOG212! Thanks for sharing advice with us Paul. Congratulations on being named July Alumni of the Month!