By Guest Blogger Swatantra, 2014 UC Student Assistant
The Esri User Conference is a Place for Unity, Enthusiasm, Entertainment, Awesomeness, Friendships, Interactions, Relationships, Learning, and Understanding.
My first visit to San Diego, California was outstanding and I think I made the most out of it. It was my first participation in the Esri User Conference and I feel honored to have had the opportunity. Acquiring a student assistantship position is very competitive and I feel lucky to have been one of 60 student assistants in 2014. The week was all about geography, geographic information systems (GIS), and understanding our world. A conference assistantship is an exclusive opportunity for students who have an interest in GIS. We were a union of students from across the globe. A team of friendly and generous Esri staff members guided us for the whole week. All the assistants were assigned a set of tasks to help Esri staff during conference events. Our overall job was to make sure that the conference logistics ran smoothly. We worked all weekend and half days during the week. This schedule allowed me to participate in technical workshops and interact with attendees during our leisure time.
The fun part began after work hours. I, along with my fellow students, explored the city as much as possible and tasted the local food and drink available in San Diego. The beauty of the city at night was amazing and I took every opportunity to photograph the great views. The beautiful night (city lights, full moon, sparkling fireworks, reflection of the moonlight on the sea surface, and the Coronado Bridge) mesmerized me. I believe everyone should experience this unique sight at some time in their life. I was also attracted to the decorated three-wheeled bikes that played loud music, which were used to transport people short distances. I observed these bikes in some parts of India when I was in high school and the concept was applied here as well.
It was a pleasing experience when the cool breeze blew in the presence of the sunlight while I was watching the ocean from corridors of the San Diego Convention Center. I also had a nice time hitting the beach of Coronado one evening with my friends; however, the water was cold. The museums at Balboa Park were also major attractions. Though I didn’t get the opportunity to visit all the museums in my short time, the two I liked most were the Model Railroad and Natural History museums. The most interesting things to look at were the wreckage and artifacts of the slave ship Whydah.
Most importantly, what I gained from this conference, in exchange for my services, were the experiences, knowledge, and professional relationships. I also had an opportunity to present my research at the conference and I had a great time answering questions about it. The conference experience will definitely help to brighten my future. Overall, my experiences at the Esri UC were memorable and I enjoyed each and every moment.
I strongly encourage potential undergraduate and graduate students to apply for this program. It’s a great opportunity to serve at the conference and collaborate with people. It may also open doors for opportunities in the future. I hope that this post will serve as encouragement and motivation for potential candidates.
Swatantra Kethireddy | Environmental Science PhD | Jackson State University
Look out for the 2015 Esri User Conference Student Assistantship application next month!