Across the Finger Lakes this past summer, instead of flipping burgers for some extra cash, six high school students worked side-by-side with planners and geospatial professionals — learning how to use geographic information systems (GIS) and global positioning systems (GPS).
This innovative internship was part of the GIT Ahead Project, a three-year National Science Foundation grant, based at Finger Lakes Institute, in partnership with Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Cornell University, Cayuga Community College, the Institute for the Application of Geospatial Technology, and the New York State GIS Association. GIT Ahead trains and supports middle- and high school science teachers as they learn geospatial information technology and integrate the technology into their curricula. In addition to teacher training, GIT Ahead sponsors summer internships to expose high school youths to career possibilities in the field.
With educational programs like GIT Ahead and the increasing familiarity with innovations such as Web-based Google Maps and Google Earth, geospatial technology is getting on the “radar screen of high school students, who are tomorrow’s workforce.
Let’s meet some of the GIT Ahead high school interns …
Rachael Asermily from Romulus worked directly with Finger Lakes Institute’s GIS Specialist, Nathan Burtch, researching and organizing data on more than 600 historic road markers throughout the Finger Lakes.
Jim Baker, an ’07 graduate of Canandaigua Academy, where he studied under science teacher and GIT Ahead participant Bob Dedrick, had an internship with Pictometry.
Ben Girtain-Plowe was matched with Eric Lopez, GIS Specialist in the Cortland County Planning Department, where they created land cover maps for projects in the county, based on recent aerial photography images.
Tina Hsu’s internship was based in the Town of Ithaca’s Engineering Department, working with Creig Hebdon.
Aaron O’Connor from Waterloo and Brian Parker from Marcellus worked in Auburn, at the Institute for the Application of Geospatial Technology.
For more information on GIT Ahead, visit http://fli.hws.ed/gitahead.