Nick Lowery, a geography major focusing on Geographic Information Systems (GIS), recently accepted an internship with the Missouri Geographic Alliance (MGA) for the Fall 2020 semester.
According to Doug Hurt, who coordinates the MGA, Lowery will be working on the program’s social media sites and monthly newsletter.
In addition, he will be doing some database cleanup and fundraising – reaching out to local banks to see about getting funds for the MGA Giant Map program, which affords students, mainly in elementary schools, the opportunity to learn about geography through exercises and games using giant stand-on, sit-on maps. Lowery will also conduct information gathering about the status of geography education in the state.
Lowery says he hopes to educate others about geography through the MGA Program. He adds that two members of his family are in the educational field, and with that comes his understanding of what areas in education need improvement, specifically regarding geographic knowledge.
“That was evident through talking with my peers — that basically nobody has an acceptable level of knowledge about the world around them through the lens of geography,” Lowery says. “Additionally, (the internship) hopefully will bring a different perspective of the line of work I want to be doing through GIS.”
Lowery’s dad uses GIS a lot in his profession as a landscape architect through the city of Columbia and Lowery helps his father with various projects over the summer. This fueled his interest in GIS and geography.
“Even if education isn’t my primary focus on what I want to be doing, I just want to be able to clarify certain terms or explain terminology so people understand geography is not boring and can be quite fun,” he says. “I hope to provide a broader understanding of what things people need to be more knowledgeable about.”
The position may entail some data collection through talking with people at gatherings and conferences, which he can’t do immediately due to Covid-19. For example, Lincoln University, the University of Missouri, and the MGA host a weeklong annual GIS workshop, though this year it was held one day only through a Zoom meeting.
“We couldn’t actually get real-time responses from people and couldn’t do everything we wanted to,” Lowery explains. “Big events have also been cancelled. A lot of events aren’t going to be happening in town anymore.”
Nevertheless, Lowery will be hard at work in the MGA office in Stewart Hall. Welcome to the MGA, Nick Lowery!