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4 geoscience students selected for scholarships to attend ESRI conference

Four students from WKU’s Department of Geography and Geology have been selected to receive scholarships to participate in the 30th Annual Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) International User Conference, which convenes July 12-16 in San Diego.

This is the ninth year in a row that the department’s students have been selected for these competitive scholarships. Students are 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.

The scholarship winners are David Evans, an undergraduate GIS major from Somerset; Rachel Hetzler, a geoscience graduate student from Oxford, Ohio; Frank Aryee, a geoscience graduate student from Accra, Ghana; and Sami Almudaris, a geoscience graduate student from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

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 30th event expects to attract more than 15,000 attendees and 300 sponsors worldwide. ESRI is 41 years old.

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

“Over 145 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,” Geography and Geology Department Head David Keeling said. “The department’s ongoing success in winning ESRI scholarships for its GIS students is a reflection of the leadership role that WKU continues to play in building relevant GIS programs for undergraduate and graduate students.  Having four WKU students selected out of 60 possible scholarships is a testimony to our outstanding GIS faculty and students.”

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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