Studying at Grand Valley has allowed me to pursue incredible opportunities at home and abroad. I completed my courses for the international relations major and a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) certificate in 2016, and spent my last semester searching for international work and study opportunities. I have since moved to Erlangen, Germany to complete a three-month long internship at the Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg through the DAAD RISE scholar program (Research Internships in Science and Engineering), for which I assist a doctoral student with research for her thesis. This work includes satellite imagery analysis and analyzing the transcripts of interviews with inhabitants of villages in southern rural Ecuador. It is incredible the ways that past experiences have come together, as my GIS knowledge from GV and my Spanish language skills learned from a Rotary student exchange year in Peru are what truly qualified me for this program.
At the start of September, I will move again to spend the next year in Slovenia as a Boren Scholar. I will be taking courses in Geodesy and Geoinformation in addition to Slovene language at the University of Ljubljana. I look forward to experiencing Central European culture and exploring this small country while also increasing my knowledge of the tools and applications for GIS and related studies.
I am so grateful to have had the Fellowships Office, Hauenstein Center, Honors Office, and IR professors readily willing to support me in my pursuit of these opportunities; I would not be where I am today without them. There are hundreds of opportunities such as these available, including to undergraduates, and I wholeheartedly encourage other GV students to consider this when deciding their next step!