Senior Attends Prestegious GIS Conference in DC


Photo Courtesy of Dickinson College Website

The Ersi Federal Geographic Information Systems Conference was held in the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC.

Katya Hrichak ‘17, News Editor

A Dickinson senior was selected as one of 20 students to attend the highly selective Esri Federal Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Conference, held Feb. 23 through 26 in Washington, D.C.

Environmental science and biology major Rachael Sclafani ’16 attended the conference held by Esri, the leading GIS software vendor, as a student assistant.

The competitive application process required students to submit a resume, cover letter and letter of recommendation in order to be considered for an assistant position.

Only 20 graduate and undergraduate students were selected to assist at the conference. While at the conference, students had many opportunities to get involved and network with professionals in the field.

“While I was there I helped in registration and monitoring sessions, and during my free time I networked with professionals in the field and other students; explored the exposition hall, which had booths from Esri, federal agencies, non-profits and for-profit businesses; and attended a few sessions on new developments in the technology,” said Sclafani.

Networking was a feature of the conference and the company rented the entire Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian for the Esri Networking Social.

“I felt that I grew my network and made some good connections on a personal and professional level,” said Sclafani. “I thought that it was a great experience. I was able to learn more about applications about GIS as well as network with other students, Esri staff and other professionals in the field.”

GIS is a technology used to visualize and analyze spatial data and can be applied to business, environmental management, planning, archaeology, transportation, sociology and defense, in addition to many other fields.

Dickinson offers GIS classes, Introduction to GIS and Advanced Applications in GIS, that are open to students of all majors. Students interested in GIS technology can also use the college’s GIS lab in Kaufman 188, open between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily.