Alumni

We welcome graduates of the Online GIS Certificate Program to stay involved. Visit regularly for Alumni Spotlights, Job Resources, and ways to stay connected with us and the GIS Community.


Online GIS represents and promotes alumni interests and facilitates ongoing relationships between alumni and the university to build loyalty and support for the UWF Online GIS Certificate Program. Here you'll find networking opportunities, career advice, and more information about how to continue your GIS education.

Lynne Johnson, 2013
Lynne Johnson

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.

Kevin Shortelle, 2011
KevinS hortelle

Interest in UWF's GIS Program
My initial interest in GIS technology stemmed from my company’s need to orthorectify aerial imagery from the autonomous drones that we were developing for the Government. With my background in developing navigation algorithms for military customers, I was already well-versed in working with map projections and geographic and planar coordinate systems. In addition, with my background in developing automatic target recognition algorithms, I was familiar with digital image processing techniques, spatial filtering, registering imagery to control points, supervised/unsupervised classification, and ground truthing. I recognized that GIS would seamlessly complement to my existing skills and provide opportunities for both business and personal enrichment.

Impressions of UWF's Online GIS Program
The on-line course was more rigorous that I had expected. However, I learned much more than I thought possible in a 24-credit hour curriculum. Course content was diverse, and provided exposure to many ArcGIS extensions, 2D and 3D spatial analysis tools, thematic mapping techniques, and ESRI support sites. The instructors and teaching assistants could not have been more accommodative, flexible, and patient, and consistently responded to questions in a timely and courteous fashion. Overall, I had an extremely rewarding experience from the online program.

Current Applications of GIS
One of the reasons that I pursued a GIS Certificate was to offer our current and future customers additional skills that complement our core competency. I have applied my acquired GIS skills primarily to conduct spatial analysis and generate map products for our Government customers. The maps have included Line-of-Sight analysis at an Army test range at Redstone Arsenal, AL, contour/slope/elevation maps of mountainous terrain at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, an interactive ArcGIS Online map of a test range at Eglin AFB that includes range-safety buffer zones to facilitate flight-test planning, and maps to delineate the boundaries for drone flight tests at an airfield in Gainesville, FL. My GIS skills had provided “added value” to the services that we provide to our customers and offer my company additional technical capabilities that can be incorporated into our overall marketing strategy.

Tom Holby
Tom Holby

Interest in UWF's Online GIS Certificate
My background was not in GIS, I had an undergrad degree in Communication, and I decided I wanted to enter a new career field. I was interested in maps, and that's how I found out about GIS. At the start of the certificate, my wife was in the Army and we were living in Korea, so I was definitely looking for an online program. I thought I'd like GIS, but having never used it before, I wasn't sure. I thought the certificate program would be a good way to delve into GIS and make sure it is what I wanted to do while also helping give me some good coursework for my eventual application into a master's program when I returned to the US. I was also hoping that I could get some good internship experience with the certificate.

Impressions of UWF's Online GIS Program
I was expecting it to be tough since I hadn't been in school for awhile, and the courses were indeed rigorous. I learned a LOT of information in a short amount of time. I was really excited very early on when I made my first basic map, I even printed it out and taped it to my wall. I enjoyed how lots of the projects were based on actual situations and data, including current events, which gave me exposure to different uses of GIS. I had never taken a course online before, and was a bit worried about how it would go. After the quick initial period of figuring out how it works,it was not a problem. There was constant communication from the instructors, and other class members provided helpful information anytime I got stuck on something. It ended up being much more interactive than I thought it would be. Overall, my experience with the online program was very good. During the program, we moved back to the US, and I was able to get an internship with the South Carolina National Guard for the final semester. The instructors were helpful in offering suggestions for internships either in person, or online. They were also open to internship sites they did not list as long as they met certain criteria.

Current Applications of GIS
After completing my internship with the SC Guard, they offered me a job as a GIS Analyst. I used ArcGIS to work on projects for the Guard such as environmental maps and facility maps. I also had the opportunity to do some field work on SC Guard property in South Carolina. My UWF certificate prepared me for this position, and I felt comfortable with the work required. Recently I was accepted into a Master's Program in Geographic and Cartographic Science at George Mason University, and will begin in the fall.

Get Connected

Get Connected with classmates and fellow GIS alumni: Stay Connected by joining our mailing list! We send up-to-date information about jobs, software, and our program.

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Get Involved

Ever wonder how you can share your GIS knowledge and experience with others? We have answers!

Check out our GIS Community page to join a GIS group in your area or become a GIS Mentor

Would your company benefit from student interns? Let us know! emailgisonline@uwf.edu

Get Hired

In effort to assist your on-going career development, UWF Online GIS Program offers the following services free of charge:

  1. Resume critiques
  2. Career-related resources
  3. Job listings - see our Jobs resource page

Stay marketable after the certificate by keeping up you GIS skills! Practice makes perfect - be sure to visit our recommended free tutorials and training page.

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