Macademics: Geographical Information Sciences

Hello Everyone! It's our last Macademics post of the year! I've hope you enjoyed this series just as much as I have and I hope you've learned a lot along the way as well. This week, I'm going to be interviewing one of my friends, Maya Wilson who graduated with a degree in Graphical Information Sciences (GIS) from the University of Maryland, College Park. Here's what she had to say:

What is Geographical Information Sciences?

It's the study of cartography (mapping) where you learn about physical, technical, and human geography. It's a pretty well rounded degree because you learn to be socially conscious, you're exposed to life sciences, and they provide you with a technical background in software development.

Can you provide a real-world application to your field of study?

GIS can be applied across a variety of different industries like developing a  database for Uber,  mapping out new and old cities, and using analysis to determine who qualifies for insurance after natural disasters. 

Did you know that you always want to study GIS? What led you to this decision?

I actually switched majors three times before deciding to study GIS. I took a human geography course and started talking to people in the geography department at school. It was through them that I learned about GIS and felt that I could achieve my urban planning goals through this career path.

Can you talk a little bit more about your goals in Urban Planning?

I eventually want to get my masters in Urban Planning and then work on rebuilding cities after human disasters such as riots and oil spills. 

What were some of your favorite classes and why?

Intro to Cartography because it taught me the software and exposed me to how everything is connected to one another. Another one of my favorite classes were sustainable design class where I learned how to write sustainable design proposals, about leed certifications and how to obtain then, and how to be sustainable in a industrial, commercial and residential sense.

You also have other interests, out side of STEM. Can you talk about them and how you pursue them?

I have always loved to read and write. Although I decided to pursue a career in STEM, I have a blog which I try to update once a month and share with my friends. I also read a lot of fan fiction and I am currently writing a book which I hope to publish.

Did you endure any adversity pursuing your degree? How did you overcome it?

Yes. College was the first time I questioned my intelligence. I really had to constantly ask myself what I was doing and why while dealing with a lot of social and family turmoil. Alongside the help of supportive family and friends, I grew up and became more comfortable with being myself and being okay with facing challenges a lone.

Do you have any advice for our readers interested in pursuing GIS or technology in general?

Don't be afraid to create your own path. A lot of times advisers and professors want you to fit a mold, but that doesn't necessarily align with your interests. Don't be afraid to step outside the box and learn things outside of your curriculum. 

Thank you Maya for taking the time to give us such an honest interview! I can't wait to see how you take over the world (and read your book).

Check out my other newest posts:

#Macademics #MacScientist #GIS #BlackWomeninStem #BlackGirlMagic


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