Congratulations to Dan O'Neill, our October Undergraduate of the Month! Dan is pursuing a double degree in GIS and Vocal Performance.  He will also be adding a French minor as well before he graduates. Continue reading below to learn more about Dan.

What are your interests within your program(s)?

I am interested in the potential of remotely sensed imagery to detect and map the effects of insect parasites in Rocky Mountain forests. I am currently working with Dr. Tatiana Loboda to develop a project along those lines as part of the 5-year BS/MS program.

What previous jobs, internships, and volunteer experience have you had?

Most of my past work experience has come from singing as a liturgical cantor throughout Maryland. Churches I have sung for include: Hope Lutheran Church (the Lutheran Student Center on campus), the Catholic Student Center, Chevy Chase United Methodist Church, and St. Thomas Aquinas Church (Baltimore). I have also performed professionally as a choral singer with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and as a section leader with the Young Victorian Theatre Company. 

Where are you interning and what project(s) are you working on?

 Since the middle of this summer, I have been interning with Mike Humber and the GEOGLAM Crop Monitor team in the Hartwick building. I played an ancillary role in several ongoing projects; including evaluation of crop data from a new Sentinel-2 based land cover map, as well as preparation for accuracy assessment on crop-cover maps in three provinces of Argentina. My work was generally outside the day-to-day operations of the crop monitor, focusing more on potential expansions or improvements to maps coverage and accuracy.

This internship has provided an invaluable hands-on opportunity to test my skills in wrangling spatial data, as well as a chance to meet and work with some of the most accomplished GIS professionals in the area.

What are  your career goals after you graduate?

After graduation, I hope to continue doing similar work, either with the Crop Monitor team or another organization doing similar vital, timely work. I also hope to continue writing and performing music!

What are some of your hobbies?

My hobbies include musical theatre, science fiction and fantasy reading, and tabletop wargaming

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Baltimore City. I grew up in Hampden, a neighborhood best known as the birthplace of the pink flamingo and “hon” beehive hairstyle.

What has been your favorite class at UMD? Why?

My favorite class at UMD was the Keystone Project course for the Honors Humanities living and learning program. My final product was an hour-long musical theatre piece, complete with sixteen songs, premiered with a table read in the basement of Anne Arundel Hall. It’s one of my proudest achievements.

If you could travel to anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

If I could travel anywhere in the world, I would choose to visit Antarctica. It seems like the closest on earth you can get to the surface of another planet; a land only lightly touched by human feet. Travel is so often focused on meeting new people and seeing the things their ancestors built—the seventh continent is a stark reminder of how small we really are compared to the planet on which we live.  


Dan O'Neill