ESRGC Spring Spotlight 2021
"Ashley Wipfield (left)"
Name: Ashley Wipfield
Graduation date/ School: Salisbury University Bachelor of Science in GIS -- May 2020
Hometown: Baltimore, MD
When did you first use GIS?: My first introduction to GIS was through my father, a software engineer. He works on projects with GIS experts and introduced me to the field. I fell in love immediately and began taking intro classes at my local community college until I transferred to Salisbury University to earn my bachelors degree in GIS.
What is something you wish everyone knew about GIS?: I wish everybody understood the full potential of GIS. The ability to visually depict any information is so powerful and can be applied to nearly any field. GIS makes information easier to digest, allowing anyone to participate.
What interested you in working with the Wicomico County Department of Planning and Zoning?: My professor, Dr. Lembo, and I were discussing internship opportunities. He referred me as an intern for the Wicomico County Department of Planning and Zoning. I was nervous at first, considering my already full schedule between school and work, but I am so grateful for his help in landing such a great internship opportunity. This internship provided me with the opportunity to apply lessons learned in the classroom to GIS efforts for the county I was living in.
What project(s) did you work on at the Wicomico County Department of Planning and Zoning? The first project I worked on as an intern was the Cemeteries project. I assisted with adding cemetery inventories to shapefiles of cemeteries within Wicomico County. From here, I worked on several other projects ranging from identifying all solar panel locations within Wicomico County, to scanning and georeferencing historical aerial imagery.
While working on this project what surprised you most or what is something that you learned from it?: My favorite part about working with maps in general is "discovering" new places. Although I am not physically at the locations on the computer screen, GIS holds so much information about different places. I really enjoyed just learning about the world around me through virtual maps.
Where are you working now? And what are you working on?: I am currently a student of Salisbury University's Master of Science, GIS Management program and working on my Co-operative project, helping the city of Norwalk, CA adopt a GIS, developing the Norwalk GIS Strategic Plan. I plan on graduating this summer (2021). I am currently living in Lacey, WA, so I am looking for GIS opportunities in the surrounding areas, Olympia and Tacoma. I would like to work as a GIS Analyst or Technician.
How has working with Wicomico County prepared you for your current position? Working for Wicomico County allowed me to see how GIS works in the "real world." I was given many opportunities to advance my knowledge and skills. Working for a state or local government is a goal of mine, so I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to intern at Wicomico County.
Have you gone to any GIS conferences? How did they go?: I attended the Tri-County Council Regional GIS Meeting in January of 2020. I had the opportunity to hear what other counties are doing and planning to do with GIS, as well as share the details of Wicomico County's Cemeteries project. This was a great opportunity to speak with other GIS users about important projects and upgrades. As a student, these meetings are valuable experiences to see what GIS can do outside of the classroom.
Dream job?: Although my dream job is to run my own GIS consulting firm, in the meantime I have smaller "dream jobs" I'd like to experience along the way. I would like to be a GIS Analyst for a company or government department that focuses on nature conservation/preservation.
What do you like to do in your spare time?: In my spare time, I enjoy being outdoors running, hiking, fishing, kayaking, etc. Pretty much anything that involves nature and exploring!
Do you have a LinkedIn?: Yes! https://www.linkedin.com/in/ashleywipfield/
The Eastern Shore Regional GIS Cooperative (ESRGC) at Salisbury University quarterly features a current or former intern for our Intern Spotlight. The ESRGC provides geographic information system (GIS) technology, data, technical support, and training to governments, businesses, and non-profit organizations in Maryland and across the Mid-Atlantic. Since launching in 2004, the ESRGC has provided valuable paid internships to hundreds of Salisbury University students, allowing them to learn real-world skills that prepare them for a direct transition to the workforce. ESRGC internships range from analyzing databases for local governments to field verifying broadband access in rural areas, and everything in between. For more information on how your organization could leverage the advantage of this inexpensive, highly-motivated, technical GIS intern, or how to apply for an internship, please contact Lauren McDermott at firstname.lastname@example.org.