Name: Eric Woolery
Year of graduation: 2014
Major: Geographical Sciences
Minor: GIS, Sustainability Studies
Current employment status:
- Employer: Geomni
- Position: Aerial Sensor Operator
Did you/do you currently go to graduate school? No
What drew you GEOG/GIS/ENSP? I have always been interested in cartography and studying human interactions with the environment. Those interests were most likely inspired by a childhood filled with family trips and influential geography/social studies teachers. Once I arrived at UMD, I didn’t really consider any other majors.
What internships or independent research did you do as a GEOG/GIS/ENSP major? I had an internship with Sierra Club Maryland Chapter and I was a Field Research Assistant for the NASA Carbon Monitoring System. My most memorable research paper was titled "Grading the Green City: Applying LEED for Neighborhood Development to Existing Built Environments through GIS". The intent was to create a procedural framework for applying any city’s GIS dataset to ArcMap in order to exhibit on a chloropleth map how closely that city reflects the LEED ND rating system.
What do you do at your current job? At Geomni, I acquire airborne data using LiDAR, digital imagery systems, film cameras, and multi-spectral imagery sensors on board airplane and helicopter platforms. I also prepare flight plans, manage data, and install survey equipment on aircraft. Those duties require me to work at a desk, in aircraft hangars, in survey planes and helicopters, and, on occasion, remotely from hotels.
Very few days are the same working at Geomni and that is one of the many reasons why I love my job. The nature of aerial surveying provides for an adventurous lifestyle and I feel very fortunate to see the country in low altitude flight while collecting essential data for engineering and government entities.
What recommendations would you make to current GEOG/GIS/ENSP majors for career and academic success while they are still undergraduates? In addition to gaining experience through internships and volunteering, be sure to come away from UMD with proficiency in programs like Python, ArcGIS, and GlobalMapper.
What recommendations would you make to current GEOG/GIS/ENSP majors for career and academic success after graduation? Cross off at least a couple of your bucket list items before permission is needed to take time off from work, remain confident in your abilities during the job hunt, and check your spam box regularly for potential employers’ emails! Don’t become discouraged if you aren’t hired immediately after graduation - persistence will set you apart from the field.
What do you miss the most about UMD? Literally everything…
What are some of your hobbies/interests? I enjoy traveling to new places, eating the best local food, living out of a carry-on bag, soccer, skiing, and sailing.
Anything else you’d like to add? Geomni is hiring sensor operators right now!