Stephanie Smith ’07 ’10 is the global information systems program manager for Grand Canyon Trust. She earned her Geography (BS) - General degree from Appalachian and then stayed to also earn her master’s degree in geography.
Why did you choose to study geography during your undergraduate time at Appalachian?
In geography I found a holistic approach in understanding the issues we face today combined with applications to help solve those problems.
How did your time at Appalachian prepare you for your career after graduation?
My time at Appalachian taught me how to be a self-directed, creative, driven and independent thinker. In the geography program I learned how to think critically about any question and how to use the industry tools to answer those questions. All are 100 percent necessary in my profession and the conservation field.
What do you do in your role at the Grand Canyon Trust?
As the global information systems program manager for the Grand Canyon Trust, I oversee all the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) operations for the Trust’s conservation and environmental advocacy programs and apply a vision of how GIS can advance conservation on the Colorado Plateau. This includes spatial analyses, web mapping development and server implementation. I am also the chief cartographer for our bi-annual publication, The Colorado Plateau Advocate, and all web and print media.
What advice would you give to freshmen who are thinking about pursuing an undergraduate degree in geography?
Go for it and take advantage of the diversity of classes and independent study opportunities. In a discipline that intersects all sciences, you will be exposed to a much broader study that will give you tools that you will use throughout life, no matter what career path you choose.