University News

Alexis Araoz, pictured with ILGISA President Andrew Vitale
[Download Print-Quality Image]

Araoz Named Outstanding GIS Student

October 6, 2015

Share |
Printer friendly version

MACOMB, IL - Western Illinois University junior Alexis Araoz was presented the Outstanding Student Award during an Illinois Geographic Information Systems Association (ILGISA) conference.

Araoz, a geography major from Rockford, IL, was nominated for the award by WIU GIS Center Director Chad Sperry.

"At Western, Alexis has excelled in her GIS courses," said Sperry. "She conducts faculty and center-led research, and she is active as a student member in WIU organizations, such as the Veterans Club. She is also a member of the Phi Kappa Phi honor society."

Araoz has also been employed as a student worker at the WIU GIS Center since 2014. Sperry said she has taken a lead role in the office on numerous projects, including creating data for a Mercer County Land Use/Land Cover project; recording street light locations using GPS and creating the 2015 Macomb city map.

She has also worked as a team member on other projects, including the Hancock County Comprehensive Plan and the research stages of a GIS plan for search and rescue.

"Alexis is a hard worker, efficient and dependable," said Sperry. "She is a leader and her knowledge and ability will take her far. Alexis hopes to take her GIS knowledge to areas of the world most in need of assistance, focusing on impoverished geographical areas such as Africa or Haiti. She is also interested in working with the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency."

Araoz is also working on a research project with a WIU professor and the related paper, which she co-authored, is being reviewed for publication.
Prior to coming to Western, Araoz developed her GIS interest while she was an intelligence analyst for the U.S. Army.

"I am confident in the effort I have put forth thus far, in the classroom as well as at work, to understand and solve problems with GIS," said Araoz. "Winning ILGISA's Outstanding Student Award reinforces the value of my efforts and, in addition, the value of having this skill set. I feel honored to have been given this recognition."

For more information on the WIU GIS Center, visit

Posted By: University Communications (
Office of University Communications & Marketing