Welcome to the Grand Finale of our National Geography Awareness Week Story Series in partnership with the National Geographic Society!  We're celebrating this special week by highlighting five innovative young professionals and students who are blazing their own paths in geography.  Listen in on the group chat, then explore their individual geo journeys:

Celebrate National Geography Awareness Week!

Learn how young professionals are redefining what is means to be a geographer in a 15 minute group chat.

Explore their Geo Journeys:

Reed 
Tomlinson
geo business starter
Lauren 
Herwehe
globetrotter & student
Mike 
Colosimo
geo business starter
Sam 
Zuhlke
nat geo 
educator
Myles 
Sutherland
startup incubator

Interview led by Rachel Kornak, GISP, Creative Director & Editor of GeoPivot Magazine.  This story series is brought to you by National Geographic Education in celebration of 2013 National Geography Awareness Week and the 125th birthday of the National Geographic Society. Check out their blog for more exciting geography stories.  Special thanks to Justine Kendall, the Geography Awareness Week Program Coordinator for making this story series possible.
 
 
Welcome to Part 4 of our National Geography Awareness Week Story Series in partnership with the National Geographic Society!  We're celebrating this special week by highlighting five innovative young professionals and students who are blazing their own paths in geography.  We'll post a new interview every day this week, so check back often.  On Friday, we'll bring all of our new friends together in a virtual panel discussion.

Samantha Zuhlke, Washington, D.C.

Meet Samantha Zuhlke, a 25 year-old Project Manager at the National Geographic Society.  Sam gets to tell the world how great geography is on a daily basis and helps people learn about our world in fun ways.  Before joining the National Geographic team, she completed a bachelor's degree in geography at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York, was a student video journalist, and interned at a conservation organization called the Lake George Association.
Learn about Sam's Geo Journey in a 5 minute clip.

Claim to Fame:

  • Produces free educational resources for National Geographic Education.
  • Geography education advocate.
  • How'd she do it?  Persistence.  She turned an internship into a contracting position, and then spun that into a full-time position.

 
 
Welcome to Part 2 of our National Geography Awareness Week Story Series in partnership with the National Geographic Society!  We're celebrating this special week by highlighting five innovative young professionals and students who are blazing their own paths in geography.  We'll post a new interview every day this week, so check back often.  On Friday, we'll bring all of our new friends together in a virtual panel discussion.

Lauren Herwehe, Tucson, Arizona

Meet Lauren Herwehe, a 24 year-old globetrotter.  Lauren can tell great stories around the campfire about her adventures in Timbuktu and Tajikistan.  She completed bachelor’s degrees in geography and geology at Penn State and is working on her master’s degree in geography at the University of Arizona. 
Learn about Lauren's Geo Journey in a 5 minute clip.

Claim to Fame:

  • Traveled to 40 countries in less than five years.
  • Can ask for directions in Tajik, Persian, German, Portuguese & Spanish.
  • Interned in Germany & Washington, D.C..
  • Fulbright Scholar and recipient of multiple awards, including “most well-rounded student.” 

 
 
Geospatial professional development and job hunting can be scary...kind of like jumping out of a plane.   That's why I did it tandem - with an expert by my side. 
Watch me leap from 10,000 ft.  Slovenia, '08.
The same is true for your geo-journey.  It's a lot less intimidating if you have access to advice and friendly faces from the geo-community. 

Introducing...GeoPivot Magazine.  

Join our crew, where we laugh at snafus, share personal stories, and meet up with other job-seeking geo-peeps.

Sometimes you have to JUMP OUT of your comfort zone to move forward!  Read on to find out how you can get started today:
  • Explore our first round of geo-stories from friends at Esri, Penn State, the University of Southern California, the Association of American Geographers, and more! 
  • Stay in touch as we meet up with more students, emerging leaders, and job seekers.
  • Hey!  Where do you think you're going?  Don't forget to share your own story and pass this message along to all of your friends.
- Rachel Kornak, GISP, GeoPivot Editor and GIS Instructor, Penn State.  Redlands, California.
 
 
A while ago, I was hired to be a GIS intern for a research institute run by a big university. I was excited about the opportunity to work on a bunch of different projects with a bunch of different people of varying expertise. I started my job in the winter, just after the Christmas holiday, and I arrived nicely dressed in brand new clothes, ready to take on some new challenges. 

My first assignment? Take down the Christmas decorations. Shortly after that, I was recruited to move a bunch of furniture and dusty old boxes from an office on the first floor to an office on the second floor using a tiny freight elevator. So much for the nice new clothes!

-Annonymous
 
 
By Rachel Kornak, GISP, GeoPivot Editor & GIS Instructor, Penn State. Redlands, California.
OK, I admit it...the Association of American Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting wasn't really in Hollywood.  But it sure was close...just right down the street in downtown Los Angeles.  Being so close to Tinseltown inspired me to create my own movie about the Geo Community.  

Check out the results from the GeoPivot Conference Cam (a.k.a. my iPhone).  I captured mini-interviews with three first-time attendees at different stages in their geo-journeys.
Meet The Cast
  • Ray Tripp is a career flipper who pivoted into GIS after his career in finance crashed with the market.  He went back to school and is about to graduate!  
  • Tim Dewland is a recent grad from Penn State's Online GIS Certificate Program and on the prowl for his first GIS job.  
  • Urvashi Banerjea is an undergrad who jumped out of her comfort zone and presented a poster at her very first conference
Urvashi Banerjea, Undergrad Student. 

 
 
Dear GIS Guru,

When it comes to a portfolio or describing GIS skills on a resume, how much weight can I give class projects? 

Can I put maps I've created in the portfolio even though they were created for educational purposes?

-Kelly Duncan, Recent Grad, Penn State GIS Certificate Program, Buffalo, NY
Kelly,

Yes, you can and should include GIS projects you've completed as a student when you are first getting started in the GIS field.  As you gain work experience, you can reduce the number of student projects featured in your portfolio.  

Check out the examples below, which show 5 portfolios from different stages in my geo-journey when I had 0, 3, 4, 8, and 10 years GIS work experience.  The timeline starts at present day and works back to 2003, when I was an undergraduate trying to land my first job out of school.  

 
 
By Thomas Kirk, Undergrad Student, James Madison University, B.S. GISc Major, Harrison, VA
Picture
Thomas stands proudly next to his poster at the AAG Conference in Los Angeles, CA.
My journey to the Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting began with a very determined professor.  

He informed me and three classmates in my senior capstone class that we were going to Los Angeles to present our work. 

At first I was apprehensive because I wasn’t sure what to expect from the conference, or what other attendees would expect from my presentation. 

I’d been to one geography conference before, but I'd never shared my own work. 

 
 
By Aja Davidson, GIS Analyst I, Texas Department of Transportation, Austin, Texas
David Parr, a friend from Texas State University, recently asked me to be a guest speaker for his undergraduate GIS classes. 

He thought I could help shed light on the seemingly mysterious process of getting a job out of school, as I had landed my first GIS position at a state agency the prior year.  

Here’s what I wish someone had told me...