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GIS student selected for scholarship to participate in annual ESRI conference

For the eighth year in a row, WKU’s Geographic Information Science program has had a student selected to receive a scholarship to participate in the 29th Annual Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) International User Conference in San Diego, which convenes July 13-17.

Melissa A. Cary of Bowling Green is majoring in geography, with a minor in GIS, and has been accepted into WKU’s MS Geoscience program this fall. She was selected by ESRI from a pool of international applicants for the competitive scholarships, which support 60 graduate and fourth-year undergraduate students from universities and colleges throughout the United States and around the world. The scholarships require students to work half-days at the conference in exchange for their conference registration, workshops, meals and lodging.

ESRI is the biggest organization and vendor of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software in the world. Each year, ESRI hosts an international conference for GIS users to share ideas and gain knowledge about GIS technology. This year’s 29th event expects to attract more than 15,000 attendees and 300 sponsors worldwide. ESRI is 40 years old.

Three of the department’s former geoscience graduate students work for ESRI in California and Washington, D.C. Also attending the annual GIS User’s conference is Kevin Cary, WKU’s GIS Center Director.

“The department’s ongoing success in winning ESRI scholarships for its GIS students is a reflection of the leadership role that Western continues to play in building relevant GIS programs for undergraduate and graduate students,” Geography and Geology Department Head David Keeling said. “Over 130 students have earned WKU’s professional GIS Certificate since its inauguration in Spring 2003, and the department’s success in placing its graduates in competitive GIS positions around the country is a reflection of the academic quality of the GIS program at WKU.”

For information about applying for an ESRI student assistantship, or about GIS, WKU’s GIS programs and GIS applications in business and industry, contact Kevin Cary in WKU’s Center for GIS at (270) 745-2981 or kevin.cary@wku.edu.

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