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GeoMentor Spotlight

Learn more about our volunteers and the wonderful and enthusiastic talent available in our GeoMentor community to assist K-12 schools with GIS and geography applications for their classrooms. Read about our currently featured member of the community or check out previously featured GeoMentors by using the navigation links on the right. If you are interested in being featured, go here for more information.  We are excited to learn more about our GeoMentor community members!

If you aren't a GeoMentor yet, we'd love to have you participate!

July 2017 GeoMentor Spotlight:

Alex Beck: GIS Technician at TREKK Design Group, LLC in Kansas City, MO. Master’s Student in Business Administration at Park University in Parkville, MO.

What was your favorite class in K-12? Two courses quickly came to mind upon reading this question: AP US History during my Junior and Senior year of high school and Ceramics during all high school years.

How did you first learn about and/or use GIS? I first learned about GIS while in college at the University of Kansas. Pete Shortridge was one of my favorite professors in college (cultural geography) and he encouraged me to explore the field a little further and “think about” enrolling in a course or two the next semester. I listened to what he said, did some research, and enrolled in a few courses – the next thing I knew I majored in Geography and American Studies.

Name one thing you love about GIS and/or geography (I know, just one!): My passion for geography is centered on the term “sense of place.” It may sound like a reach, but I see that term as a driver to help any individual learn for life. Whether you’re digging for a recommendation at home or within a city you’re visiting – another perspective always helps because it improves one’s understanding of where they are and how they can maximize their time. Whenever one is on a plane, bus, or train – one of the first questions that comes up is “Where are you from?” or “Where are you headed?” I don’t think a lot of people think of it geography in that fashion – but what else is it?

Why did you want to volunteer as a GeoMentor? I first wanted to volunteer as a GeoMentor because I simply wanted to get involved in the community and somehow offer value to others. After working with a younger generation over the last year or so, I learned that there’s so much more to the experience than I originally anticipated. I get to help others learn things that I truly care about, I feel like an older sibling for the first time, and I get to learn a whole lot more in the process. It’s amazing what you can learn when you teach something.

What kind of GeoMentor volunteer opportunity and experience are you looking for? I am looking forward to continuing to volunteer at other schools within my community. In particular, I hope to work with some junior high and high school-aged kids to show some data collection and ArcOnline skills that they can apply in other classrooms or with future employment. Hopefully, by opening a few kids’ eyes to the power of GIS I can enable them to apply their skills down the road. I feel fortunate to work for a company that is flexible with employee time and allows myself and other employees the opportunity to share our passions and interests at various civic events and schools.

If someone asked you why they should learn about GIS and/or geography, how would you respond in one sentence? Geography is a lot more than “just maps” – check it out and you won’t regret it!

Email address: &
Twitter: @kansaswins
Instagram: @chalexbeck

Read about our latest featured GeoMentor here!
If you are interested in being featured, visit here for more information.


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