URISA Announces Newest Members of the Vanguard Cabinet of Young GIS Professionals


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URISA is pleased to announce the newest members of its Vanguard Cabinet. The Vanguard Cabinet (VC) is a URISA initiative (which debuted in 2011) to engage young GIS practitioners, increase their numbers in the organization, and better understand the concerns facing these future leaders of the GIS community. The VC is an advisory board who represent the young membership of the organization. The Cabinet’s mission is to collaborate with URISA’s Board of Directors and Committees in creating and promoting programs and policies of benefit to young professionals.

Comprised entirely of passionate young members selected from different geospatial disciplines, the Cabinet aims to position URISA as the center of opportunities for ambitious young professionals who are committed to improving URISA and the geospatial profession via innovation, collaboration, networking, and professional development. Each will serve a three-year term.

2023-2025 URISA Vanguard Cabinet Members:

Andrew Berens, GISP, Senior GIS Projects Coordinator, Peraton at CDC/ATSDR, Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Andrew is a geographer and GISP with over 6 years experience in public health both at the state level, as an employee for the Louisiana Department of Health, and the federal level, as a fellow and contractor at the CDC. Andrew currently works as a senior GIS projects coordinator for Peraton supporting CDC/ATSDR's Geospatial Research, Analysis, and Services Program. He is excited to join the Vanguard Cabinet and work with other young professionals promoting the use of GIS to help solve problems across domains.

Kelsey Calvez, Environmental Scientist /GIS Analyst, Freese and Nichols, Inc., Austin, Texas:

I’m thrilled to have been selected as part of the next cohort of the Vanguard Cabinet! The Cabinet helps strengthen the geospatial community, promotes innovation and collaboration, and provides professional development opportunities that enable all of us to expand our skillsets and develop as future leaders. I can’t wait to get started and fully take advantage of all the opportunities as a member of the cabinet, including serving young professionals and engaging with our local communities.

Samantha "Sam" Dinning, GIS Analyst, Douglas County, Castle Rock, Colorado: I am excited to be selected as part of the Vanguard Cabinet for the ‘23-‘25 term! I am looking forward to meeting my peers in the VC and expanding the reach of Geospatial technologies. I have always loved maps and exploring, and I want to encourage young people with the same passion to look at careers in GIS. I think GIS is one of the most powerful technologies and I hope to share my passion for it with others, especially students and young professionals! Looking forward to serving the Geospatial Community over the next three years!

Brooke Hatcher, Senior Geospatial Consultant, New Light Technologies, Seattle, Washington: I am excited to accept my position on the Vanguard Cabinet and be a part of a passionate community dedicated to working with geospatial technology to solve our world's spatial problems. More specifically in the realm of disaster response and climate change. I look forward to contributing to the cabinet by sharing my expertise in data management and research, web application design, and remote sensing at the government agency level for defense and disaster response. This position will allow us to collaborate with others to improve our skills and provide the most effective solutions to clients, partners, and agencies.

My biggest passion for this position is to create a network of resources for a geospatial community that may not have fellow colleagues in their areas due to their type of position or teleworking in a post-pandemic world. I hope to encourage those to engage in geospatial topics, share their work, and keep up to date with the latest technology and successful research.

Wanmei Liang, GIS Technician, Infrastructure Management Services, Los Angeles, California: It is an absolute honor to have been selected for the URISA Vanguard Cabinet. I am so excited for this opportunity to make a meaningful impact on the next generation of GIS professionals while also networking with and learning from my fellow esteemed Vanguard Cabinet members. During my tenure, I look forward to connecting students and young professionals with tools and resources to support their careers. Thank you for a warm welcome, I am delighted to get started.

Ethan McGhee, GIS Specialist, City of San Luis Obispo, San Luis Obispo, California:

I am thrilled to join the Vanguard Cabinet and work alongside the other cabinet members to strengthen the growth of the geospatial community. I look forward to meeting the next generation of young professionals, and am excited to see where the industry is headed. During my time on the Cabinet over the next few years, I hope to expand networking circles, facilitate collegiate involvement, and ultimately help those looking for guidance while entering the professional world. This is an amazing opportunity to connect and collaborate with other passionate individuals, and I cannot wait to get started.

Matt Worthy, Program Manager, Optimal GEO, Huntsville, Alabama: I’m looking forward to supporting URISA and the Vanguard Cabinet alongside some of the geospatial industry’s brightest young professionals. Previous years’ cohorts have done a phenomenal job expanding the organization’s reach in an ever-changing digital world, and I’ll be looking to continue that trajectory. Together, we can show that geospatial is truly a profession rather than just a tool and cool maps!

Sydney Young, GIS Technician, Chatham County Engineering Department, Savannah, Georgia: I am originally from Lafayette, Louisiana and first became interested in GIS when I saw it used to map and mitigate the effects of flooding in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. After completing graduate school in Orono, Maine, I moved to Savannah, Georgia where I now work as a GIS Technician for Chatham County’s Engineering Department. I am eager to participate in the Vanguard Cabinet so that I can exchange ideas with young professionals and mentor those that may be newer to the GIS realm. You never know what innovative ideas may be permeating throughout the GIS community nationwide!

Cabinet members are selected through an application process, with interviews by the URISA Leadership Development Committee. The application process for the next class of Vanguard Cabinet members will open during the Summer of 2023. Learn more about VC activities here: https://www.urisa.org/vanguardcabinet

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