You are here

MGIS Students Receive Several Awards and Recognition in 2017

July 24, 2017

Megan Sisko was awarded an Esri Student Conference Assistantship to participate in the 2017 Esri User Conference in San Diego, California!  Additionally, Peter Wiringa, who also attended the UC Conference, was named the 2017 UMN Esri Development Center Student of the Year.

Congratulations to Kevin Ehrman-Solberg (MGIS; pictured) and Coleman Shepard (BS, Geography) who were named as the 2017 UMN Minnesota GIS/LIS Student Scholar Award recipients. Coleman, advised by Len Kne, is the undergraduate award winner for his project, Analyzing Solar Insolation Within the Urban Environment. Coleman is also interning this summer at the Spatiotemporal Innovation Center at George Mason University as part of the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program funded by the NSF; he will join the MGIS program in Fall 2017. Kevin, advised by Ryan Mattke, is the graduate award winner for his project, Mapping Prejudice. His work was recently featured in a Star Tribune article. Kevin and Coleman did an outstanding job representing the University of Minnesota in the undergraduate and graduate student paper competition sessions at the 2017 Minnesota GIS/LIS Annual Conference held in Bemidji, Minnesota this October. Kevin won First Place in the graduate paper competition including a $1000 cash prize! 

Our students also captured several awards in the 2017 U-Spatial Mapping Prize competition.  Peder Engstrom won the Best Overall Map prize ($1,000) for Diverse Farms, Diverse Foods: Farm Size and Nutrient Diversity; Grace Johnson received Best Use of Maps ($250) in the graduate category for Impact of the Camino; Rebecca Barney’s Minnesota Renaissance Festival map won Best Cartography ($250) in the graduate category; Frank Wagner took the Best Body of Work ($250) prize in the graduate category for his submission Boundaries of Discrimination: US Congressional District Gerrymandering Case Studies and, Tobias Fimpel won Most Provocative/Transformative Map ($250) in the graduate category for ZAP Bicycle Counts: Audiovisual Animation Reveals Bike Commuting Patterns. Additionally, Jasper Johnson, who is entering the MGIS program in Fall 2017, won the Most Provocative/Transformative Map in the undergraduate category for World Map of Uranium Reserves, Uranium Mining, Nuclear Energy, and Nuclear Warheads.

Several MGIS students successfully competed for summer research and internship opportunities. Travis Fried received a Judd Fellowship to fund his GIS project in Nepal working with Kathmandu Living Labs. Jake Arndt was selected to participate in NASA’s DEVELOP program and is working at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California this summer; he will also travel to Washington DC in early August to give a presentation on his research. Nicole Helgeson was selected to participate in the UCGIS Summer School Program on Collaborative Problem Solving with CyberGIS and Geospatial Data Science at the Cyber GIS Center at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; she also attended the UCGIS Symposium in Washington DC. Frank Wagner accepted an offer as a GIS/Information Science Fellow with the US Fish and Wildlife Service as part of their Directorate Fellowship Program and is working in Anchorage, Alaska this summer!

Our location in the Twin Cities also affords our students excellent summer GIS internships opportunities working with a variety of organizations and agencies. Issa Al Hinai has an internship with the City of Minnetonka; Dylan Richardson is working with the Department of Planning and Economic Development for the City of St. Paul; and, Boxuan Xia is working for the Minnesota Department of Transportation as part of the SEED program.

Special thanks to our generous donors who contributed to the MGIS Annual Fund, which helps to support professional development opportunities like internship and research experiences for our students. If you would like to contribute to the MGIS Annual or Fellowship Funds, please visit our Support page and donate today to support our bright and deserving students! Travis, Jake, Nicole and Megan all received supplemental funds from the MGIS Annual Fund to support their travel costs to attend these beneficial experiences.

Finally, ten students completed their MGIS degrees so far in 2017.  Placement information is available on our job placement page. Congratulations to all of our accomplished students and graduates!