Sophia Walsh

Class of 2008

When I started my first year of college, I was unsure of what direction I wanted to go.  My symposium professor suggested that I take a class in Environmental Studies and from then on I was hooked.  Looking back on my coursework, there are a few classes that have been very important in getting me to where I am today with my career.  The course on Geographic Information Systems (GIS), along with the experience of being a GIS teacher's assistant, has been vital to my career path.  The Environmental Science and Ecology courses have also been very important, as knowing how to do lab and fieldwork are essential in Environmental work.  In addition to these particular courses, learning good communication skills has been very important, as in both of my careers after college I have had to work with customers and residents on a daily basis.  I did my study abroad as an internship in Albany Australia with Southwest Natural Resource Management.  I assisted with research in archeology and endangered species.  Throughout the internship, I used GIS, lab and communication skills while learning how to work in an office setting which can be difficult to simulate by just taking college courses.

After graduation I worked in St. Cloud, MN at GeoComm, an Emergency Management Mapping company, as a GIS Specialist and utilized my skills in GIS on a daily basis.  I traveled around the country doing fieldwork and training on GIS software and GPS devices.  Currently, I am working for the Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health as an Environmental Health Specialist in Mason City, IA.  My main priority at the department of health is conducting a five year study looking into why there is arsenic in the ground water in Cerro Gordo County.  In addition to this, I do some GIS work for the Health Department.