Dawn Wright (a.k.a. “Deepsea Dawn”) is Esri’s Chief Scientist as well as an ocean scientist, geographer, and GIS author. There isn’t much this neat lady doesn’t do! Her work at Esri involves formulating and advancing the intellectual agenda for the environmental, conservation, climate, and ocean sciences aspect of Esri’s work while also representing Esri to the international scientific community.
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.
By Guest Blogger Melanie, Story Maps Team Intern
Open Spaces, Open Collaboration
When I first stepped into the Washington, DC R&D Center, I was struck by the space. Wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling windows opened up a magnificent panoramic view of the capital with a spotlight on the Washington Monument. I spent many moments throughout my summer observing the city’s pulse. “It’s so alive,” I thought as I watched cars crossing the Potomac River via 6 separate bridges, planes passing above on their way to/from Reagan International Airport, cyclists and people moving along the ground in a bustle, and of course the daily flock of kayakers, boaters, and paddle-boarders that floated around Theodore Roosevelt Island. This was a creative space.
I settled into my office in June. In the Story Maps team it was hard to tell who was “boss” and who was “intern.” I learned very quickly that there was no sense of “hierarchy” or “bureaucracy” here. We all worked together in a laissez-faire style. It felt strange at first, but I adapted easily and quickly learned that everyone was there to help me.
Esri’s Technical Support team is vital to the company’s success. They work with users daily on solving small problems and finding solutions. Scott Harris is a member of the team and says he’s finally found a job he loves.
Tell me about yourself. What is your background?
I took my first GIS class when I was pursuing my bachelor’s degree at Keystone College in Pennsylvania. I did a few projects while I was there, one of which was making some campus maps using ArcView 3.2 (which seems primitive today). I ended up getting my degree in Environmental Resource Management and then spent a bit of time out of the GIS field doing environmental testing. After that I became a GIS tech for the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where again I was using Esri software. Later I went back for my master’s degree in geoenvironmental studies and then I ended up at Esri.
Although it feels like the summer just began, many of Esri’s summer interns are packing up and getting ready to go back to school or move on to the next phase of their lives (me included!). Over the last few weeks, interns have been getting up in front of their peers and presenting their work. So far there have been nine presentations and more will be happening over the next couple of weeks.
Recently the interns sat in on two presentations and interactive sessions with some of Esri’s HR partners (recruiters). Although interns have a good understanding of Esri’s departmental structure, these recruiter roundtable events helped give us a better idea of the opportunities we may have to work for Esri full time. This is especially helpful since the summer is winding down quickly!
By Guest Blogger Jennifer, Community Maps Program Intern
This September, I will be a senior at Santa Clara University, completing my B.S. in Environmental Studies and minor in Political Science. After taking some GIS courses and working as a GIS research and teaching assistant, I decided to apply for a summer internship at Esri. In making this decision, I hoped to learn more about the company that has been an influential player in developing products that have helped address and solve many environmental problems around the world.
I got the chance to sit down with Nate Ebel, who has only been back at Esri for a few weeks. Nate was an intern last year and now works full-time as a software engineer, but his start in GIS was . . . unexpected (and very cool!).
You were on the plenary stage at the Esri User Conference in 2002. Can you talk more about that?
When I was in seventh grade, I was part of a small class that was devoted to problem solving and data analysis with a large component of GIS. At the time, I had never heard of GIS, but after using the software to create maps and analyze data, we entered maps into the Esri Community Atlas. Everyone in the class contributed a couple of maps, and our project ended up being a sort of “model project” that year. Esri flew me, another classmate, and my teacher to San Diego and we presented a few of our maps on the UC stage. One of the other projects that came out of this class ended up continuing through high school, and we presented it in various places and won more awards. That ended up being what led me in the direction of GIS.
This is an actual quote from a recent SIGGRAPH attendee: “Think of everything that has ever made you geek out and feel so passionate about something in your whole life and put it into one feeling … That, my friend, is the feeling you get when being at SIGGRAPH.”
We couldn’t agree more! Once again, Esri will have a strong presence at SIGGRAPH, on the main exhibit floor as well as in the job fair. I sat down with HR team members Shawn and Jennifer to talk about what people who stop by our booth in the job fair can expect.
By Guest Blogger Jennifer, Software Products Intern
We all come from different parts of the world, but at the same time we are connected as one, linked in our quest for knowledge of both place and identity. Even at a young age, we are taught spatial awareness in one way or another—we play hide-and-seek, build cities with blocks, hunt for treasure, and imagine magical kingdoms. As we grow, we become curious thinkers who strive to learn about space and place, whether it be the space of the universe, the Earth, society, or even of the mind and body.
Within this desire to learn, our strengths and passions sway us towards various fields, like magnets, pulling us to ask the right questions about life. To explore one’s calling is, unfortunately, a privilege to some and a dream to many, which is why we must not take these questions lightly. As geographers, we ask, “where?”; as philosophers, “why?”; as anthropologists, “who?”; as engineers, “how?”; as historians, “when?”; and as scientists, we ask, “what?”. Continue reading