Category Archives: Students and Recent Grads
When Olivia Hollenhorst started her Esri internship in the summer of 2014, she probably never dreamed she would one day be accompanying her colleagues to Geneva, Switzerland, to help map the Ebola outbreak. Upon completion of her internship, she was hired last September full time, and continued working on the health and public safety team in our Professional Services Division. That’s where she received the opportunity to spend a month working with the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva.
The experience in Geneva allowed Olivia to combine her interest in GIS with her educational background in global public health. “My undergraduate degree was in public health, focusing on international public health. Near the end of my undergraduate career, I added on a GIS certificate with the hopes of somehow mashing them together. This internship and the consequent full-time work was great because it allowed me to explore what I could do with my two interests,” she said. Olivia is now going back to school at University of Washington to pursue her master’s in human geography with a concentration in infectious disease mitigation and management using GIS.
When asked why she wants to work with diseases she replied, “I like how a community responds to crisis and how they come together and problem-solve on the fly, really quick, to try and come up with a solution that can solve the immediate problem. That always rolls into a more sustainable effort to solve future problems that would arise.”
In time sensitive projects like this, getting accurate and up to date data is crucial. Olivia mentioned that one of the main difficulties of working on the project was coordinating and organizing data coming from multiple sources into a standard useable format. “We were getting data from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, but it was all coming in different schemas, at different times, and was going into all these different data hubs. We had to pull it back together and compile it in standard format,” she explained. With the help of the Esri Ebola response team, the WHO created daily briefing maps on disease distribution and resource location for internal use and weekly Map Journal Situation Reports for public consumption.
Would she go back abroad and do something similar in the future? “Oh yeah, absolutely,” Olivia exclaimed. “I would love to do any sort of emergency response or infectious disease work. I definitely want to do international GIS work related to health.”
For all of your future endeavors Olivia, we wish you good luck and hope you enjoy your time in your master’s program.
Esri interns recently had the unique opportunity to hear from managers of different departments to learn more about the work their teams do. With the chance to ask questions to the managers, the interns became more knowledgeable in what Esri does throughout the entire company rather than just the end product. All the managers did a great job engaging the interns during their speeches and we were grateful for the opportunity.
Check out the Esri Student Connection page on Facebook for more photos!
At a recent brown bag lunch for interns, a young professional, Kara, from Technical Support came to speak about what Esri looks for in a potential employee.
After graduating with a degree in geography, Kara became an intern at the Rae Selling Berry Seed Bank. With encouragement from her aunt, a geography professor at the University of Redlands, she pursued a job at Esri in Technical Support.
Kara spoke to the interns about her department and shredded any misconceptions of working in Technical Support. She showed the interns how being part of her department can be a stepping stone to a long-term career with Esri.
When hiring for the department, many would be intrigued to know what the most important characteristics are that hiring staff look for. Here are the four characteristics they look for in order of must have to teachable.
Last week the interns got together to do this on an imaginary island. Eight teams of six interns made boats and rafts to help them get off the “island,” but naturally there was a twist. A seasoned employee was assigned to each team and would tell members they could not do something within their team, such as speak or use their hands or eyes.
Maddy Ernesto, an intern in Esri’s Washington, DC office, recently had the opportunity to visit the FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) office and interact with its staff.
“FEMA in one word was awesome! Being an intern, I never imagined I would have the opportunity to accompany some of my co-workers to a site visit, so you can imagine I was a bit nervous yet extremely excited,” said Maddy. “I was able to work hand-in-hand with FEMA workers developing maps and templates that will be used for disaster management in the future. I had never created any template or map that would be used for real-life scenarios, so it was a real honor to help with this project. The knowledge of how to more effectively use ArcGIS Online, along with the experience of working directly with clients, will be skills I will use throughout my GIS career and hopefully with Esri.”
A great benefit to being an intern with Esri is the ability to connect with seasoned employees. Recently the interns had the opportunity to hear the stories of Chad Helm and Christie Pleiss in the Professional Services Division on how they found themselves at Esri. Both have been here for many years and started with a technical background that led them to become managers.
Some people say I am the master of multitasking, and they may just be right. While I am interning at Esri as a full-time summer intern I will also be a full-time student to make sure I will graduate on time and within four years. But wait . . . that’s not all. While it is difficult to keep up with both workloads, let me tell you why I need to take summer classes.
The following is an excerpt from an article written by Esri’s Jim Baumann, published in the May 2015 issue of GeoConnexion.
Esri’s education enterprise is diverse and spread across the entire company. For the most part, however, our education offerings serve people who already use our technology. What’s new about massive open online courses (MOOCs) is that they provide a way to engage with people who are curious about the power of spatial thinking and geospatial technologies, but who may not be GIS users or even have heard of Esri.
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