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Geography: GIS and Emergency Management Success StoriesGeography: GIS and Emergency Management Success Stories

Geography: GIS and Emergency Management Success Stories - Placements

Steve Hoke - Mountaineer Keystone

Steve Hoke interned at Mountaineer Keystone

Internship title:  GIS Intern

How did you find your internship?

Academic Advisor/ Conference

What are you primary responsibilities/day-to-day activities?

My primary responsibility was to map out potential drill sites that my company had leased. 

What is the best part of your internship?

Learning new ways to use GIS and also learning about the oil and natural gas industry. 

Would you recommend this internship to someone else?

Yes

A quote from you regarding your experience?

“When your completely stuck, take a coffee break”

 

 

Bethany Bowersox - Erie County Emergency Management Agency

Internship title:  Emergency Management Intern

How did you find your internship?

I found my internship through my involvement with the Erie County Community Emergency Response Team. My supervisor was one of the presenters at the team training, and he said that there was an internship available. 

What are you primary responsibilities/day-to-day activities?

Assist on any project that needs completed as well as attend various meetings throughout Erie County

What is the best part of your internship?

Being able to assist in the completion of a major emergency management project for Erie County. 

Would you recommend this internship to someone else?

I definitely would. I learned so many valuable lessons relating to the field of emergency management. 

A quote from you regarding your experience?

Being able to intern at the Erie County Emergency Management Agency was a valuable learning experience. I was able to assist in the completion of a major project and I was given the opportunity to network with many professionals in the field.

Elizabeth Rainier - U.S. Department of Agriculture

Photo of Elizabeth RainierInternship placement:   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Lemont Furnace, PA

Internship Title:   Earth Team Member

How did you find your internship?   Through networking.

What are your primary responsibilities/day-to-day activities?
As an Earth Team member, I find myself assisting in the day-to-day tasks that are consistent with conservation planning, farm billing programs, as well as some hands-on experience with survey and design. A specific emphasis has been placed on ArcGIS to accommodate my specific interest and educational goals.

What is the best part of your internship?
The people that I work with; they all have different types of personalities, and it is interesting to hear and learn there views on work ethics and thoughts about everyday life. It is also interesting to learn to deal with and work well when you are surrounded by a lot of dissimilar personalities.

What are the top two things you have learned?
Being able to understand and use my schooling at my internship helps me have a better understanding of how my education can be used in the real world; how things that people do in Pennsylvania effect people all over the world, even minor things such as cutting down a tree can affect the Gulf of Mexico. Waking up early and looking professional all day is hard and tiring; I have a new-found respect for my parents.

Would you recommend this internship to someone else?
Yes, it is a great learning experience.  The people are friendly and are very willing to help me with anything that is needed.  I've learned a lot about the environment and how to help preserve it. It is very rewarding to know that something that you did, a map you created or a letter you sent, might help save the environment.

A quote regarding your internship experience?
It is absolutely a privilege to intern at the United States Department of Agriculture, being able to get the professional experience of an internship is to my own personal advantage. If anyone ever has the opportunity to get an internship, they should take it.  You learn things that you could never learn in a classroom. It is really interesting to see how the information that I was tested on in class is really used in everyday life.

Amanda Smith - NOAA/NWS WFO

Internship placement: NOAA/NWS WFO, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration / National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office)

Internship title: Meteorologist (Intern)

How did you find your internship?
I found my internship for the National Weather Service when I attended the National Weather Association Conference in Cleveland, OH. I met Mr. Josh Korotky of the Pittsburgh National Weather Service. He informed me that they take students for internship positions and that an application process was necessary for selection. I felt that applying would give me a chance to further expand on what I had learned in the classroom.  

What are your primary responsibilities/day-to-day activities?
I have several responsibilities depending on the shift that I am working. When I work the evening shift, I am responsible for the Radiosonde launch at 00Z, or 7pm. That requires me to prepare the balloon, the radiosonde, and the computer for the launch. After the launch is completed I monitor the flight status and send any coded messages generated by the flight. The evening shift is also when I get to spend the most time in the AWIPS system.

I work two morning shifts, and my duties range from the morning radiosonde launch that requires the same responsibilities at the evening one. With that I also monitor the COOP (Cooperative Observer) program and issue the River forecasts. In addition the those morning duties, the HMT that I have been working with, John Darnley, has various projects for me to work on. Including but not limited to hand analysis, Fisher Porter tape read outs, and calling climate site volunteers. I am also working on two large projects, we are in the process of making California University the first Storm Ready campus in PA. I am also working on creating a Historical Climate Sites of the Pittsburgh CWA. Both of these projects are proving successful.

What is the best part of your internship?
The best part of my internship is getting to come in and participate in activities such as the radiosonde launch and creating the river products. This is hands on experience for me and I feel that I have learned a lot in the 13 weeks that I’ve been there. The forecasters are wonderful and have many new aspects of the discipline to teach.

What are the top two things you have learned?
The first thing that I learned and probably the most important to me, is how upper air analysis works and how data is gathered. This particular aspect was the hardest for me to grasp in my studies at school, and since I started my internship I have been able to gain a better understanding of how the process works. I will be upper air certified when my internship comes to term in two weeks.

The second important thing that I feel I have learned is how a forecast is actually put out in the job setting. It is very different from the forecasting that we do at the school, and through this internship I hope to be a better student forecaster. I have also learned out data is incorporated into the models and now understand a little better how the data the models show is interpolated.

Would you recommend this internship to someone else?
I would most certainly recommend this type of internship to anyone else in the operational meteorology field. It is a great way to apply what is learned in the classroom through hands on experience.

A quote from you regarding your internship experience?
There is nothing quite like hands on experience to help you understand the concepts that you couldn’t get in class.

Charles Leer - Cumberland County GIS Department

Major: Geography Degree with a concentration in GIS/ Emergency Management

Internship placement:  Cumberland County GIS Department, Carlisle, PA

Your internship title: GIS Intern

What are your primary responsibilities/day-to-day activities?
My primary responsibilities are to help with spatial analysis and map creation.

What one day at work really stands out?
The day that stands out the most during this internship is my first day.  I did not know what to expect.  And now I am filling this form out and thinking to myself what a wonderful time I had here.

What is the best part of your internship? 
My favorite part of this internship would have to be going out into the field, plotting an invasive species called Japanese Barberry Bush in a nature preserve.

What are the top two things you have learned?
The top two things that I have learned a great deal about in my internship using a GPS to plot points and tricks and tips with ArcGIS.

Would you recommend this internship to someone else? Yes.  It’s a 100% great learning experience.

A quote from you regarding your internship experience? Practice makes perfect.

Kevin Wagner - WTAE-TV

Internship placement: WTAE-TV

Your internship title:  Weather Intern

How did you find your internship?
A classmate had it a year before me and spoke very highly of it.

What are your primary responsibilities/day-to-day activities?
Brief the meteorologists of the day’s weather, prepare the graphics they use on the air, consult the news staff on the weather.

What is the best part of your internship?
The entire staff didn’t treat me like an intern, they treated me like a co-worker.

What are the top two things you have learned?
Patience and perseverance

Would you recommend this internship to someone else?
Absolutely!

A quote regarding your internship experience?
Something WILL go wrong one minute to air, I promise you that!

Tim Swango - Moody and Associates, Inc.

Major:  Geography Major with GIS and Emergency Management Concentration

Internship placement Name:  Moody and Associates, Inc., Houston, PA

Your internship title?  CADD/GIS Technician

How did you find your internship?
Dr. Mueller had received an e-mail from a former student at Moody and Associates Inc. regarding a possible internship. Dr. Mueller forwarded this to the GIS club. Dr Mueller also personally recommended me for this position.
 
What are your primary responsibilities/day-to-day activities?
My first project was the scanning of maps and geo-referencing these in ArcGIS10. I updated stream assessment maps, master well and spring location maps in and ArcGIS10. I worked on stream mapping in Micro Station. I converted Micro Station contour drawings to ArcGIS features. My latest project was to updated daily and weekly long wall progress maps in ArcGIS10.

What is the best part of your internship?
My activities have changed day-to-day. My supervisor tried to give me something new and different to work daily. She was very helpful in answering any questions I may have had whether it be job or school related. All the other employee's had been very cooperative and friendly making me feel like I was not just an intern, 8 hours a week, but a fellow employee.
 
What are the top two things you have learned?
Confidence in my knowledge of ArcGIS.
It has never hurt anyone to ask questions if you want to learn more.
   
Would you recommend this internship to someone else?
Yes, but only if it does not affect my part-time employment status that I hope to keep until I graduate in December 2012.
 
A quote from you regarding your internship experience?
"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest." - Benjamin Franklin

Alexis Sites - Allegany County Department of Public Safety and Homeland Security

Major: Geography: GIS and Emergency Management

Internship placement name: Allegany County Department of Public Safety and Homeland Security

Your internship title: Homeland Security Intern

How did you find your internship?
I found my internship through family and friends from home.

What are your primary responsibilities/day-to-day activities?
As an intern in a government office, my day-to-day responsibilities can vary. I have produced several different types of literature dealing with hazard awareness that will be distributed to the public. When I’m not working on public outreach, I am also responsible for developing a common places layer that will be used in the 9-1-1 center during emergencies.

What is the best part of your internship?
 I cannot name one certain part of my internship that I have enjoyed the most. But if I had to pick, I’d say the best part is realizing that I will actually enjoy my future career.
 
What are the top two things you have learned?
I’ve learned that I am more prepared for a professional setting than I originally thought and that a first impression is a lasting impression.
 
Would you recommend this internship to someone else?
 Most definitely!
 
A quote from you regarding your internship experience?
Take advantage of the networking opportunity you are immersed in. The people you are working with are a great source of knowledge.