Jennifer Pilkington (Masselink) '00
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR MAJOR?
I started out life at Calvin as an Elementary Ed major with an English major. After taking the required Geography course I realized I loved it. While getting deeper into Education classes and volunteering I realized I was not meant to be a teacher. Geography and maps ended up my passion that I took with me after college.
MEMORIES OF CALVIN
The close knit group of Geography students. Something you would never find at a big university. Obviously, my favorite course was the one GIS class:) Wish there had been more! Of course the trip to the Netherlands will always be the highlight of my college years.
WHAT AT CALVIN PREPARED YOU FOR YOUR CAREER?
I could have used more GIS courses and some VB programming but I took some programming classes later in Durango and GIS changes so much you learn something new everyday and with every new release of the software. Also a little background in surveying could have helped since so much GIS is research and mapping from old surveying documents.
LIFE AFTER CALVIN
Worked for 2 years for MapSearch (PennWell) in Durango, Colorado as a GIS Technician mapping power lines and power plants. Moved back to Denver to work for Premier Data Services. Left there last year as the Supervisor of their GIS department contracted to map among many other things Federal land ownership and working on major projects such as the Energy Policy and Conservation Act for the Federal government.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING NOW?
Moved to Cleveland for Andy's job to stay home with my new baby boy Evan and 2 year old Graham. I miss my career in GIS but love spending time with the boys!
ADVICE TO CURRENT STUDENTS
Enjoy the liberal arts education you are receiving. You will be more well rounded than those coming from larger programs centered solely on technology. It is the extra skills like problem solving, writing, communication, etc. that only a good education can nurture and will take you further in your career and faster than others in your field. Experience, experience, experience! My first job for the City of Grand Rapids was my first step towards my career goals—and I was hired for my first job based on that.