Alumni Corner: Michael Grodek

Michael Grodek

Geography Department: When did you graduate from MU and what degree did you acquire?

Grodek: I graduated in May 2019 with a degree in political science and a degree in geography, with an emphasis in GIS


Geography Department: What are your fondest memories of being a part of geography?

Grodek: My fondest memories from geography are taking the vastly different class types amongst the discipline. It was, to me, educationally stimulating to have such great diversity among the classes that I could choose to take.


Geography Department: What were some of the most important concepts you learned while taking geography classes?

Grodek: The most important concepts I learned have to be the Geographic Information System/remote sensing skills and concepts that I was taught because that is what I am using in my profession. I believe that they created a good foundation that I will build upon going forward. While traveling, however, I do find myself remembering information learned in cultural classes. This adds a depth to my understanding of an area, and I enjoy that very much.


Geography Department:  Would you recommend the MU Department of Geography to other students? Why or why not?

Grodek: I would recommend the MU Department of Geography because while you can choose an emphasis in one area of geography it also allows you to take classes in other areas of the discipline. This to me creates a better general knowledge that can be useful in everyday situations and creates a base knowledge that can be expanded later.


Geography Department: What have you done since your graduation? How did your education help with your successes?

Grodek: Since graduation, I have been hired by Surdex as an Ortho Technician. I help create base maps that will be used for a variety of reasons by our clients. Since mid-December, I have also been working as a sensor operator for the same company. I am participating in the collection of raw imagery used for the creation of base maps. This is accomplished in a variety of aircraft with one or two engines. These aircraft have a special slot located in the aircraft where a camera is placed to collect the imagery. My education helped me to get hired in the first place, which has allowed me to work in a position that I hadn’t ever imagined I would be. Also, the information I had learned in Remote Sensing (GEOG 3830) has allowed me to have a greater understanding of how the sensors work. and the difficulty that can go into collecting the imagery. All these different factors that will affect the image quality, and I have to be aware of these in order to provide the best possible product for the customer.


Geography Department: What advice do you have for other students who may be considering a geography degree or who are already in our program?

Grodek: My advice would be to choose an emphasis that interests you the most, but also take classes that don’t seem directing directly relate to that choice. Those classes to me where always very interesting and help expand your geographic knowledge which will be helpful in unexpected ways.