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UA Geographic Information Systems Career Day provides students opportunity to network, engage

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Arizona Daily Wildcat

Another panel discussion will take place at the UA Geographic Information Systems Career Day. (Photo courtesy of Chris Lukinbeal)

The UA Geographic Information Systems Career Day will provide students with information regarding the rapidly growing geospatial industry.

Today, students will be given the opportunity to network with professionals, participate in a resume and mock interview workshop and engage with panelists in a discussion titled, “The Best Practices and the State of the GIS Industry in Tucson.”

After attending the fair, students should have a better understanding of what the GIS industry involves from a non-academic perspective, according to Chris Lukinbeal, director of the Master of Science in Geographic Information Systems Technology (MS-GIST) and an assistant professor for the School of Geography and Development.

The event is sponsored by MS-GIST, a relatively new program that was started in January 2011, according to Carl Bauer, interim director for the School of Geography and Development.

This career day is an example of a professional education, according to Lukinbeal.

“What you do outside of class matters as much as what you do in class,” Lukinbeal said. “You don’t show up to these things and typically get a job, but you show up, you make an impression, and that might lead to a job and more connections.”

Lukinbeal also said that the U.S. Department of Labor now considers geospatial technologies an emerging industry with a lot of potential for job growth.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor website, because the uses for geospatial technology are so diverse, the market is growing at an annual rate of almost 35 percent.

This could be beneficial for students, as they could use this fair to put themselves on the path to a career in an emerging industry.

“They [students] can get new and up-to-date information about some of the both professional career opportunities and also educational opportunities in the field of GIS, which is a blooming field,” Bauer said.

Several organizations will have booths at the fair, including the UA Libraries, GeoGRAX & Moonlite Enterprises, Happy Desert GIS and Environmental Consulting, Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc. (ESRI), the Arizona Geological Survey and Saguaro National Park. Students interested in any of these organizations will be able to visit their booths and learn about the skills and qualifications necessary to pursue careers with them.

The panel discussion will begin at 12:30 p.m. and will include Janel Day, a geoscience information manager for the Arizona Geological Survey, and Becky MacEwen, a GIS specialist for Saguaro National Park, among others. From 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., there will also be an ESRI demonstration called “Working with LiDAR and 3D Data in ArcGIS 10.1” with David Vaillancourt, a solution engineer for ESRI. The demonstration will offer students tools and applications related to 3D data.

Last year, approximately 125 people attended the fair throughout the day, according to Lukinbeal. There are currently 65 alumni of the MS-GIST program, many of whom work in the industry in Tucson and throughout the state of Arizona.

“If I see them working in the industry, then I feel like this event and the program [MS-GIST] … is successful,” Lukinbeal said.

If you go

The event will take place from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. in the South Ballroom of the Student Union Memorial Center.


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