Congratulations to our October Alumni of the Month, Dave Grolling! Dave graduated in 2015 from our Master of Professional Studies in GIS program. Currently, he works at the American Academy of Family Physicians as a GIS Strategist.
What is a recent project that you have worked on that you have drawn on skills from the MPS program? There was an internal request to produce 50 static maps showing different locations of where nurse practitioners are practicing in each state. I felt a need to revisit my Python skills that I explored in the MPS program, so I used scripting to automate the task for dissemination. I found it a valuable skill when I learned it, but never had an opportunity to actually apply it until recently.
How have the skills you have learned in the MPS program helped you progress in your career? The MPS program offers a wide variety of topics within GIS, but also teaches skills/topics that are a good companion to GIS and spatial thinking. For instance, there are courses on programming and database management. I’ve drawn a little from almost every course I took in the MPS program, except for, anything remote sensing related.
What drew you to the MPS GIS program at Maryland? When I applied to the MPSGIS program at UMD, GIS was still something so new to me, and after speaking with Dr. Jack Ma about the details about the curriculum, I knew UMD’s program would be the direction I needed to take.
What advice can you give current and prospective students about the MPS program? Be adaptable. GIS and geospatial sciences seems to change often in technological capabilities, spatial thinking, and best practices. Consider post-MPS program certifications to stay up to date on all things GIS that exist outside of the scope of your current position.
What recommendations would you make to current students for career and academic success after graduation? Attend conferences and meetings. Even if the meeting isn’t focused on GIS, it can provide an opportunity to bring the concepts of geospatial thinking and technologies to those who are not as familiar with them.
What are some of your hobbies/interests? Rock climbing; camping; reading; cooking;