Monday, March 4, 2013

Meghan Kelly - GeoDecisions

Name: Meghan Kelly
Major & Minor: Geography – International Studies Emphasis
UWEC Standing and Expected Graduation Date: Graduated December 2012
Interests and Hobbies: Spending time with family and friends, staying active outdoors, soccer, knitting

Internship Employer: GeoDecisions, a GIS consulting firm in Madison, WI
Length of Employment: Summer internship 2012 but I am still technically an employee if projects come up

Basics : Was your internship paid or unpaid? Did you register for credits? Why or Why not? Did you create the internship or was it advertised? Where did you hear about it?
My internship at GeoDecisions was paid.  I did not register for credits as I did not need the associated credits to graduate.  I heard about the internship through an email from Dr. Christina Hupy sent out from a Wisconsin State Cartographer’s Office posting. 

What were your specific job responsibilities?
My specific job responsibilities surrounded the conversion of water and waste water utilities from an AutoCAD nonfunctional format to a GIS format.  This conversion process is not completely fool proof and creates random glitches in the data.  My job was to go over the data and make adjustments as needed.  Eventually, I worked on the Quality Control team to double check the team’s work using the Network Analysis feature in ArcMap and running supplementary tests.  I was also given the opportunity to make an onsite visit to Champaign, Illinois where we worked with the onsite water utility personnel to update any features that were not in AutoCAD.  This was on the spot maintenance and problem solving.

I worked on side projects throughout the summer including Broadband/internet/cable user-ship in Delaware.  I made maps for a third party company to test the expansion of coverage for accuracy by creating coverage comparison maps.  The third party company would then go to the designated areas based on my road maps to test the coverage and speed of access. I worked on updating fishing hot spot data in the US for a GeoDecisions offshoot called  This is essentially a Facebook for fisherman to share and record personal fishing spots with access to detailed bathemetric maps.   

What do you think gave you to edge to get the internship?
First and foremost, I think my background and training in GIS proved that I was completely qualified for the job.  Because of my background, I think I was also confident in using my skills.  I think demonstrated an eagerness for the position.  I also fit into the mindset of the organization

Was it a valuable experience?
Yes this was a valuable experience.  Not only did I utilize my skills and add to my skills, I was exposed the world of GIS outside of academia.  I came to the conclusion that I was capable for that type of job or project management but decided that it wasn’t something I would want to do for the rest of my life.  I’m glad I tried it out.  The people I worked with are great people so I also made positive connections.

How did the logistics work for you? Did you have to move?
I moved to Madison for the summer.  Fortunately, my sister lived less than a mile away from the GeoDecisions office so housing was not an issue.  I would have probably still taken the job had she not been there.  Finding a sublease in Madison for the summer wouldn’t have been difficult.

What advice can you give to those who are looking for an internship?
My advice would be to stay active in the search and keep applying.  I applied to GeoDecisions on a whim because I was in the midst of sending out three other applications when I received the email from Christina.  Also, show interest and take initiative.  Finding an internship may lead to a job so take it seriously.  GIS is a small world so if your company/organization can’t hire you, they might know people who can.  Keep in touch after your internship is over!

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