A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a computer system used to capture and display different types of data on one map. With GIS technology, anyone can compare the locations of different things to show how they relate to one another. GIS can enhance the productivity, efficiency, and sustainability of any organization.

Towson University’s Center for GIS (CGIS) is a highly qualified professional organization that has been helping governmental agencies, businesses, and non-profits gain cost-effective access to the power of GIS since the early 1990s.

Alex Mikulski (seated in photo) and Luis Resh (standing in photo) have been working as student employees for the Center for GIS (CGIS) since June 2014. In that time, they have made important contributions to a variety of CGIS projects while developing practical GIS and problem solving skills.

CGIS Student Employees

CGIS Student Employees Tackle Real-World Problems Using the Power of GIS

Meet CGIS Student Employee Luis Resh

Luis, a rising senior at Towson University, has recently provided data and research support for the Maryland Broadband Map, an IMLS grant to help libraries integrate GIS into their decision making processes, and data visualization dashboards for the Homewood Community Partnership Initiative. Luis is from Dover, Delaware, and plans to eventually pursue a master’s degree in GIS or environmental science.

What are your hobbies?
I enjoy playing and watching sports, especially the Philadelphia Eagles and the Phillies.

What is your favorite travel destination?
Aruba – it’s very beautiful, and I enjoy snorkeling and seeing all the different wildlife.

What’s the most interesting or rewarding project you’ve worked on at the Center for GIS?
The most rewarding project that I worked on was helping to create route maps for the TU Shuttle. It was early in my time at CGIS, and it was pretty cool to see the shuttle maps displayed at the bus stops and know I had a part in that.

What is one unexpected skill you’ve learned while at CGIS?
An unexpected skill that I’ve learned from my time at CGIS is how to effectively work through problems I encounter while working with GIS. I’ve learned that good communication with my coworkers and searching online can help me solve tasks and make me more knowledgeable about GIS software.

Any advice to students looking to gain GIS experience?
I would recommend finding an internship as soon as possible, because the skills that are utilized in the work environment are applicable to work in classes, making the learning experience more rewarding.

Meet CGIS Student Employee Alex Mikulski

Alex, a 2015 Towson University graduate, recently completed an internship where she focused on mapping stormwater management facilities and installments for TU. In the past year, she has helped to develop GIS training materials, and supported CGIS projects for the Maryland State Highway Administration, the Maryland Transit Administration, and the MD iMAP program. Alex is from Perry Hall, Maryland, and plans to pursue a graduate degree in Geography and Environmental Planning at TU.

What are your hobbies?
I really enjoy singing and playing the guitar. I do so whenever I get the chance, but rarely in front of people.

I am a very active person and enjoy any sport. I am constantly playing something new or returning to my favorites, basketball and field hockey. I am also a foodie – I love trying new foods and recipes.

What is your favorite travel destination?
I love going to musicals and Broadway shows in New York City.

What’s the most interesting or rewarding project you’ve worked on at the Center for GIS?
I mapped solar installations that were supported by grants from the Maryland Energy Administration. Some of the maps I developed included data for median household income and homeownership rates. I’m interested in environmental issues, so it was rewarding to be a part of a project that supports increasing environmental quality and attainability for all people.

I was also part of the support and development of materials for the Maryland Statewide GIS Training Program. It was extremely rewarding to be part of a project that will not only help people be aware of GIS, but also understand it.

What is one unexpected skill you’ve learned while at CGIS?
My major was undecided until my junior year of college. Even after I officially declared, I was unsure I picked the correct major. However, after taking a position at CGIS and working for just a few weeks, I was confident in my decision. It’s not really an unexpected skill, just an unexpected event that lead to gaining many unexpected skills.

Any advice to other students looking to gain GIS experience?
Take any job related to GIS, even if it’s just volunteer work. You never know what can come from it. Volunteer work might not turn into anything substantial, but if you don’t take it, you will never know.