Sunday, January 19, 2014

Geographers locate (and land) dream jobs – with diligence

John Bowen in Hawai'i with
Faulkner & Zeitler's Geog 368
Field Experience class, 2011.

Two of our recent graduates recently got jobs with esri, the company at the center of the GIS mapping software, services and apps world.  Sam Tompsett graduated this past December and will be starting this week in Southern California and Jon Bowen, who graduated Dec 2012, started two weeks ago in Washington, D.C.  I’ll give Sam some time to settle in, but for Jon, this is his second dream job in a year – last year he had an internship with National Geographic (See UWEC news release from April 2013)!

After the internship and some short term work as a print cartographer with XNR Productions in Madison, making maps for such clients as National Geographic and Pearson textbooks, Jon landed a full-time job in web mapping as a cartographer/designer with the Story Maps team in esri’s DC Research and Development Center.  Led by ex- National Geographic Chief Cartographer Allen Carroll, the team works out of 9th floor offices in Roslyn, VA overlooking the Potomac and the District.  Needless to say, he is thrilled to be part of this newly developed team.

From a recent email, Jon draws from his experiences to encourage current students:  “I also HIGHLY encourage more people to apply for the Nat Geo internship, not just for cartography but within their education department. It's intimidating but honestly it does nothing but good for a resume. My network gathered from my time there is hands down what got me this job. Lucky/thankful for that one. But seriously I was applying for jobs all over the country and there were over 1500 applicants for most of these jobs....1500! Students need to be proactive on internships/experience or it's a rough real world after graduation.”

Indeed, while at UWEC, Jon worked hard as he realized he would have to to get the kind of job he wanted.  Among other things, he took charge of the cartography for a GEOG 319 (Geography of the Middle East and North Africa) class project that subsequently won honorable mention in the 2013 National Geographic Student Mapping Award, registered for an independent study as a way of practicing his cartographic skills, and was often one of the only ones in the geospatial lab after hours.

We congratulate Jon and look forward to hearing how it is going in DC and with esri. Having worked in Washington, DC for nearly eight years before becoming a geographer, I am very excited for Jon and what he will be learning and contributing.  

To see some of the work Jon has been doing in geography and cartography, visit his professional blog at   

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