Name: Aren Warner
Internship, Co-op or Research Site: AECOM
Position Title: GIS Intern
Major(s)/Minor(s): Geography and Environmental Systems
Current Class Level: Senior
Work Term: Spring 2020
Tell us about your internship, co-op, or research opportunity, including your day-to-day responsibilities.
As a GIS intern in the water division of AECOM, my main roles consist of collecting, editing, and mapping geospatial data for ongoing water infrastructure projects with clients in both the private and public sectors. These projects can be on the scale of a local city, county or across several states under a large corporation. This variety of work creates a diverse day-to-day workflow for me. I have been able to learn the submission process for data edits or newly created/updated maps to the client and how to receive and respond to any incoming feedback from these submissions. With newly edited or received data, I have also been able to use my skills in cartography to create maps for later use in online GIS services such as ArcGIS Enterprise. I also get the opportunity to go into the field for data collection using Collector for ArcGIS, a new and valuable tool for real-time geospatial data entry directly from a worksite.
Describe the process of obtaining your position. When did you hear of the position and submit your application?
I first heard about this internship from my advisor last fall. As my graduation is expected in May of 2020, I informed them that I was actively searching for upcoming job opportunities or internships that could extend into a full-time position after graduation. They connected me with a UMBC alum who would later become my supervisor. I filled out an application and was fortunate enough to be brought in for an interview where I was offered employment soon thereafter.
What have you enjoyed the most about your position or organization?
The work environment at AECOM Baltimore is incredibly friendly and tight knit. The team I work with relies on cooperation, so help is always available from other team members. I also feel incredibly valued as an intern for I have responsibilities that I never thought that I would be given. The fast-paced nature of my job and the ability to directly contribute to projects has been incredible.
How do you believe you have made an impact through your work?
One of the most rewarding parts of the job is seeing my work making a difference in a project and watching it all come together. My impact is clear when my team thanks me for my input in a discussion or thoughts on a workflow. As we all submit our individual components to an ongoing task and mark it complete, I get a sense for just how important my work really is.
What advice would you give to another student who is seeking an internship or similar experience?
Connections are very important, but of those connections, the most important are those that know you the best. Someone who has detailed knowledge of your professional ambitions can personally find job opportunities in an environment of overwhelming possibilities. Before talking to my advisor, I felt like I had too many options to choose from and didn't know what the right choice would be. After they connected me to this internship, I have never been more positive on knowing what I want to do for a career.
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