Lynne Johnson, 2013

Interest in UWF's GIS Program

My interest in GIS was peaked due to a significant career change. I completed my undergrad degree in 2007 with a BS in Communication & Journalism but my true passion lies with marine conservation. Without going back to school for a second degree, getting my foot in the door in marine conservation seemed daunting. While dream job searching, I was noticing a trend. GIS. A fair number of job even mentioned that GIS knowledge could replace the lack of a biology degree. I started researching programs and found UWF. It seemed like the best one I came across while still being affordable. So I applied and started the program all within a week!

Impressions of UWF's Online GIS Program

The UWF's Online GIS Program was the first time I had ever taken any type of college class online. I was pretty hesitant at first knowing that I am a better face-to-face learning. I was afraid I wasn't going to get as much out of the program as I could. To my delight, it was such a wonderful program and the faculty were incredibly helpful. They made it so easy to learn and seek help. The virtual office hours with the faculty and discussion boards with classmates really made it an interactive experience. If anyone is looking to learn about GIS, I would definitely recommend this program.

Current Applications of GIS

Currently, I am living on the Island of Maui in Hawaii and interning with the Pacific Whale Foundation. We do most of our research on humpback whales; tracking our sightings and their pod compositions and behaviors. Once we have significant data collected, maps are created each month and each year to show where the whales spend most of their time while breeding in the Hawaiian waters. While we are out on our research vessel, we also collect any marine debris that is sighted. I am currently in the process of formatting last year's data to create a map showing where the debris was found and the significance of plastics.

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