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Three WIU Students Win State GIS Awards

October 8, 2018

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MACOMB, IL – Three Western Illinois University GIS students were recently notified they are recipients of the outstanding student awards from the Illinois GIS Association (ILGISA).
Jack Walberg, a senior network technologies major from Ottawa, IL, Edgar Rodriguez, a senior emergency management major from Macomb, and Daniel Jarosz, a recent graduate of the geography and geographic information sciences program from Schaumburg, IL, were three of the six winners statewide. The awards will be presented during the ILGISA annual conference Tuesday, Oct. 23.
The Outstanding Student Award is given to an undergraduate student of any major who has included GIS in their course of study, and has demonstrated exemplary proficiency and understanding of GIS, potential contribution to the GIS community and general success in school.
The students were nominated by GIS Center Director Chad Sperry.  
"The GIS program in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Geographic Information Sciences at WIU continues in its tradition of producing high caliber students to meet the high demand of the geospatial workforce," said Sperry. "To date, 100 percent of the students that have worked in the GIS Center as part of their studies have obtained jobs in a GIS related field or continued their education in a graduate program."
Walberg was nominated for helping tutor several GIS classmates and sees tutoring as a way he can also learn the material better. He works in the GIS Center where he has helped on a variety of projects, including an address project for Greene and Calhoun counties to improve 911 service in the area, and has helped with drone aerial photography collection for several projects.
Rodriguez was recently named the new Emergency Services and Disaster Agency (ESDA) coordinator for McDonough County. At WIU, Rodriguez has promoted growth between the emergency management and GIS programs. As a student, he was also employed by the GIS Center where he helped in the development of addresses for 911 applications. Rodriguez has studied abroad in New Zealand and has been assigned to the National GIS Response Group, where he analyzed field data to help the federal government make GIS-related decisions.
Jarosz worked for the GIS Center for more than one year before recently graduating from WIU. He has worked on GIS projects involving simulated forest fires, modeled flood risks and field work with GPS units. He also studied drone image collection and processing as part of an independent study course he designed.
For more information about the ILGISA, visit

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