I enrolled in the GIS Certificate Program at UMD as a transfer student after communicating with the Director, Laure Charleux. It had been a number of years since exercising my GIS skills and I wanted to sharpen up and find ways to use GIS for Conservation Science. Laure convinced me the program offerings would enable me to do so. With transfer credits, I needed only to take three courses at UMD to obtain the certificate; those three courses (Applied GIS, Applied Spatial Statistics, Earth Imagery) and the professors (Laure Charleux, Kate Carlson) taught me a lot. I feel I have come a long way and have gained the aptitude to use my GIS skills and interests for Environmental Conservation. Currently I am working with The Nature Conservancy of Duluth (contractual) using GIS to characterize forest ecology conditions and to locate prospective sites for planting different tree species. There is promise of much more spatial analysis work to be done with them in the future.
I would like to thank the Geography Department and Pam Spencer within the College of Liberal Arts at UMD for making this career transition possible. If you're ready for a challenge that certainly offers the potential to make one competitive in the GIS job market, I highly recommend the GIS Certificate Program at UMD.