Young Professional Scholarship Opportunity Available from URISA


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URISA is pleased to accept applications for the 2021 URISA Dr. Marilyn O'Hara Ruiz Young Professional Scholarship*.

A core strategic goal for URISA is to support GIS professionals at all stages of their careers. URISA has established a number of programs to support young professionals and has active participation through programs such as GISCorps with abundant, diverse and rewarding volunteer opportunities, the URISA GIS Leadership Academy, and the Vanguard Cabinet which collaborates with URISA leaders and committees to create programs and opportunities geared toward other young professionals.

URISA established the Dr. Marilyn O'Hara Ruiz Young Professional Scholarship program which selects up to two young professionals (35 years old or younger) to attend GIS-Pro 2021 in-person. The participants in this program will have the opportunity to attend a one-of-a-kind geospatial super-event in Baltimore and experience cross-discipline sessions covering the most up to date and emerging GIS technologies, processes and applications, strengthen professional connections through networking with key URISA and industry leaders, and connect with and get involved in local, national and international initiatives and activities, all while obtaining valuable professional/continuing education credits.

• Deadline to Apply: July 19, 2021

• Scholarship recipients will be notified: August 23, 2021

Eligibility and Attendance Requirements

Applicants must:

• Be a URISA member in good standing. Young professional and student membership dues are significantly discounted. Membership detailed here:

• Be a first-time attendee at this annual event (note that the conference will be hosted in-person this year, in Baltimore, Maryland)

• Work directly in GIS or working with GIS in a closely related geospatial field (surveying, planning, engineering, etc.)

• Be available to assist in the URISA Vanguard Cabinet booth during the Exhibit Hall Social

• Have confirmed ability to secure travel to/from the conference (costs will be reimbursed up to $500)

• Summarize your conference experience and incorporate how you will incorporate this experience and knowledge into your own career path and professional development by November 1, 2021 to be included in a URISA newsletter. The summary must be received prior to expense reimbursement.

To Apply: Complete the application (

Send your resume, a letter of employer support on letterhead (if applicable) and a professional reference/recommendation familiar with your work. All materials must be submitted directly to with the subject line: URISA Young Professional Scholarship.

Selection Criteria

1. Demonstrated work and/or research within the GIS (or related) industry

2. Quality of responses to essay questions

3. Impact of work, contributions to the GIS field

4. Letter of recommendation

Selected Scholarship winners will receive ($1850 Value + professional growth and networking experience!)

• Free registration to attend GIS-Pro 2021 in Baltimore

• 5-night hotel single/double room accommodations at the conference hotel in Baltimore

• $500 expense reimbursement towards meals and travel

• Obtain professional continuing education credits for GISP, AICP and others

• Opportunities to meet and network with other young professionals, Vanguard Cabinet, URISA leaders and key national and international industry leaders

Donations are encouraged to support this scholarship fund: URISA is a 501c3 charitable organization and donations are tax deductible.

For more information about this and other student and young professional opportunities at GIS-Pro 2021, click here:

* This scholarship fund was established in 2018 and honors Dr. Marilyn Ruiz who passed away unexpectedly. During Dr. Ruiz's career at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, she provided her undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral students with excellent research experiences in her laboratory which helped them to have successful careers in academia, government and industry. Marilyn was passionate about her role as a mentor of graduate education. The scholarship fully supports young professional participation in the conference, fostering their professional connections and educational development.

Explore more: Professional Development

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