A Learning Experience Inspires Public Work

GES senior Diana Flores Castillo talks about her internship with Ramsey County Public Works
Headshot of Diana Flores Castillo

Where was your internship and how long did it last?  

My internship was through the Ramsey County Public Works office in Arden Hills, MN. It was a summer internship that started in May 2021, but I’ve had the opportunity to continue working part-time during the school year

How did you find your internship? 

I found the internship through the UMN CTS (Center of Transportation Studies) page in February 2021 when I was researching for summer internships

What were your responsibilities? What did you do? 

My responsibilities were to utilize GIS software programs, such as ArcGIS Pro and ArcMap, to create maps focused on the county roads in Ramsey County. Three of the main projects I’ve worked on were a crosswalks inventory, speed study GIS maps, and a stormwater GIS pipe revision. All of these projects involved complex GIS tools and analysis. 

For the majority of the summer, I helped conduct data collection in the field on various county roads using a speed gun. I was also responsible for attending career development trainings with my cohort group and frequently presenting my work to my coworkers. 

One of the projects I’m currently working on is a segmentation project in which I’m classifying each county road by its number of lanes, length, etc. 

What are the main takeaways from your internship experience? 

One of the main takeaways I received from my internship experience was seeing how the GIS coursework I’ve taken at the University of Minnesota related to the real-world work of my internship. I also learned it’s okay to make mistakes as long as you try because internships are meant to be a learning experience. Finally, this internship has solidified my interest in becoming a GIS professional in the near future. 

Which of the core career competencies do you think will help you the most in your future career? 

I believe analytical and critical thinking will help me the most in my future career. As a GIS practitioner, it is crucial to be able to reformat/classify data onto a map that can visually tell the story of what you’re trying to convey. Additionally, getting ideas across on a map takes time and patience, so it’s imperative to be able to analyze which tools are best to use in order to help spread your message. 

What is your dream job? How is your liberal arts education helping you reach your post-graduation goals?

My dream job is to work full-time as a GIS analyst and eventually, become a manager of my own GIS department. I envision myself working within the public sector because that’s where both of my internships have occurred (MNDOT and Ramsey County), but working within the private sector is something I’m open to as well. 

My liberal arts education is helping me reach my post-graduation goals because it has given me a well-rounded education. I’ve been trained to analyze situations through multiple perspectives while gaining a world-class experience in my GIS coursework. 

Share on: