• Paul: With GIS major, he pinpointed his place on the academic map


    Paul Price, a National Guardsman who served in Iraq, knows where he wants to go next professionally – right into Geographic Information Systems work. In addition to a bike trail project with faculty, he’s already used this digital mapping-and-databasing technology in a summer internship at an energy company.

    “I can’t think of a better way to spend a summer. I participated in the full life cycle of GIS.”

    The avid outdoorsman started his college career as a History major, pursuing a subject he loves, but then discovered the Geographic Information Systems, a major offered in the Geography and Regional Planning Department.

    “Once I started taking major classes, I found that I fit right in,” he said. “Most of the students had similar interests to mine.”

    It’s no surprise one of his favorite pastimes at IUP has been geocaching, an activity that takes place in the woods and employs GPS techniques and hiking. It’s not unlike a hunt for buried treasure—the treasure being small items participants bury in the woods.

    “It not only provides you locations to hike and explore but also the excitement of locating the cache,” Paul said.

    As a National Guardsman, Paul served in Iraq and earned the Combat Infantry Badge. After returning from Iraq and to the classroom, he has learned many techniques in the classroom, but his academic work has taken him outside the classroom, too.

    His professor, Dr. John Benhart, included him in a project in cooperation with the Indiana County Department of Planning, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to connect several bike trails near IUP.

    “I personally gained from the project an understanding of the operation of local government and how a real-world GIS project would be conducted from start to finish,” Paul said.

    Paul also completed an internship at Eastern American Energy Corporation.

    “I can’t think of a better way to spend a summer. I participated in the full life cycle of GIS. The data we collected was processed and used to make products by management,” he said.

    Paul, who as a student has worked part-time for the local ambulance service, aspires to work in the GIS field in a state such as Alaska or Montana.

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