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Department of Geography

Summer Wolfe

Geography Student Profile

8/5/19

1. Why did you decide to major in Geography?

I decided to major in Geography after I was chosen for a STEM scholar program at SWIC. We were given a presentation by a professor about the power of GIS and how it can be used for so many different things. I decided to enroll in the class and the rest was history! I always loved science but found some of the math and chemistry very difficult, so when I found out about GIS, I wanted to pursue it as my career. I like to make maps and also use the tools in ArcMap to creatively solve problems.

2. What do you like about the SIUE Department of Geography?

There are many things that I like about the SIUE Geography Department, but I’d say the main thing is the teachers. The department is close knit so you can really get to know the faculty. I have been able to get recommendation letters, advice, help with homework, and job opportunities through the relationships that I fostered with my teachers. I will forever be thankful for them and all the opportunities that they have opened my eyes.

3. What is a course you have taken in Geography that you think has been particularly challenging, insightful, or enjoyable? 

 One of my absolute favorite courses I’ve taken here at SIUE has to be my Python course. I think it is so important to know how to code in this field because it can make you a more valuable asset to potential employers. I felt challenged, but also had fun with the work I was given. Mr. Rivera was great at explaining difficult concepts and gave us chances to come up to the computer and type code. I would highly recommend taking this course!

4. What opportunities have you had to be involved in Geography Department activities outside of classes?

When I got to SIUE, I was starting in the middle of the academic year and felt pretty lost. I quickly found my way into the Geography Club and then Gamma Theta Upsilon (GTU). Through the club, I have been able to volunteer at various places (like the Watershed Nature Center and Great River Greenway), make new friends, and create new opportunities for myself.

Now, I am the club’s secretary and have been put in charge of all our volunteer activities. Also through the club, once I had enough geography courses, I was able to join GTU and have access to scholarships and more ways to become involved in the geographic community. This fall, the Geography Club will be setting up a job readiness program that will help club members with their resumes, finding job opportunities, and interview prep.

Also, I recently participated in a Women in GIS summit [St. Louis Regional Women in Geospatial Technology Summit] that I learned about through Dr. Hume and had the best day ever! It felt great to be around powerful women in my field.

5. What internships have you had?  Why do you think an internship is important?

I had my first GIS internship with the Army Corp of Engineers. This internship was pivotal for getting me into the Geography field. I now have a job as a GIS Analyst at Horner & Shifrin. If it weren’t for the experience I gained from my internship, I feel like I would have had a harder time getting a job. Employers like to see that you have some experience, whether it’s an internship or at school. If an internship isn’t an option for you, I highly suggest becoming more involved with extra-curricular activities at school. It is great to see on a resume!

6. What kind of career would you like to pursue?

I love science and conservation, so if an opportunity arises where I can use my GIS skills in this realm, I would definitely be interested. I also think it would be cool to work for a city doing GIS work. I recently worked on a zoning map for a city in St. Louis County and I had a lot of fun doing that. There are so many paths you can take with a Geography degree and GIS minor and I think that I am still in the process of figuring out what exactly my path will be. Overall, I just want to be able to do meaningful work that is interesting and fun to me. 

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