February Undergraduate of the Month: Kelly Whiteis
Meet Kelly Whiteis, our February Undergraduate of the Month! Kelly is a GIS major and Sustainability minor!
What are your interests within your program?
My interests within my program are Remote Sensing, Biodiversity, Climate Change, and Natural Resource Management.
What previous jobs, internships, and volunteer experience have you had?
At the University of Maryland, I was the Financial Chair for Relay for Life. Outside of UMD, I was a soccer coach for Soccer Shots! Regarding internships, I was an "intern for a day" with Jeff Wu at Agent Knows Homes and the Special Projects intern at Montgomery Business Development Corporation.
Where are you from?
I'm from Gaithersburg, Maryland!
Where are you interning?
This semester (Spring 2017), I will be conducting research with Catherine Nakalembe on refugee settlements in Uganda. Last semester, I was a Campus Geographic Information Systems Technician for the University of Maryland Facilities Management.
What are your internship responsibilities?
Much of my internship responsibilities included producing maps, diagrams, inventory catalogs, and reports documenting GIS data. I prepared data layers and geodatabases for use with standardized symbology and data model templates and updated feature class metadata and document project workflows. Along with that, I also researched and applied new developments in GIS data.
What project(s) are you working on or contributing to?
I've researched construction projects on campus and collected information to create a story map. I also helped the UMD Police Department update their base maps. Another project I worked on was revising UMD's data to construct a new World Topographic Map submission.
How is the internship experience relevant to your studies in Geographical Sciences?
I learned new approaches to solving problems with Geographic Information Systems. I acquired the knowledge to utilize GIS in various projects and gained experience with software applications. I also learned about many ways that GIS is implemented throughout campus.
What are your career goals after your graduate?
I would like to volunteer in the Peace Corps at some point and want to study for a master’s degree.
What has been your favorite class at UMD? Why?
My favorite class was Remote Sensing (GEOG372) because it was my first introduction to using satellite data, which I thought was really cool. I got to learn how to use different applications such as QGIS and PCI Geomatica and also use these to analyze various data. Comparing images over time was very interesting because it made issues such as deforestation much more immediate and real.
We're so glad about the passion you have for GIS and that you're a part of our program!