Our WC GIS team has grown this winter – not only in skill but in size. Meet Mia DeNardi, a GIS Analyst II who has joined our staff with the hopes of helping students learn about GIS and geography while contributing to meaningful maps for different agencies and organizations.
“I found out about Washington College through a job posting Stew created. Two summers ago I interned with the National Geographic Society and worked with their Education department writing a report on the state of Geography education in the US. It wasn't until that point that I became interested in geography education and this job description seemed perfect for that new found interest,” said Mia.
A native from rural northeast Ohio, she graduated with a B.A. in Geography and Urban & Regional Planning from Miami University in 2010. She is careful to note, “This is the original Miami in Oxford, OH - not Florida!” Mia graduated with her M.A. in Geography from Ohio University in June 2012.
Through academic research, she has studied the relationship between identity, symbols, territory, and the Palio in Siena Italy – a horse race held twice each year with the culmination of ongoing rivalry and competition between districts dating back to medieval times. She has also researched public transportation, specifically Amtrak, in Ohio.
Mia’s research work outside of the University stems from her life experience. “I have worked on geography education projects. I also have a passion for environmental and conservation efforts, especially when it comes to wildlife, since I grew up raising animals. I am also very interested in energy extraction as I have seen how my home (the Appalachian landscape) has been scarred and fractured from years of coal, oil, and gas extraction.”
While at Miami, Mia took 3 GIS classes and clearly believes in the great importance of this innovative technology.
“It is an important tool that can be utilized across almost any discipline, and I feel that is evident here at WC based on the array of different projects we work on and the different people we work with. Since I am an advocate for Geography education, I think it is important for the students to work with GIS here and to learn spatial technologies hands on that will prepare them for real world positions. Most people do not know what a Geographer does, and if they know anything about the discipline, it is usually about GIS, and there are so many different types of companies that hire people who have experience with it."
With WC GIS, Mia is working to support research identifying target areas for DUI enforcement for the Maryland Highway Safety Office with Eric Rice and Jessica Brennan, both GIS Analyst I. “We are working on creating a Risk Terrain Analysis comparing different data on DUI tickets and crashes to help the Maryland State Police better focus their saturation patrols,” said Mia. WC GIS is more than happy to welcome her to the team!