I first learned about SCG through taking Jonnell Robinson’s Community GIS course in the fall of 2013. I have always been fascinated by the way people develop spatial relationships to the environment, particularly how public policy influences the way people interact with their environment on a local level. I believe enacting social change is best done through participatory methods, which enable individuals and communities to create sustainable and sound spaces. SCG became a perfect fit as it allows me to apply the geographical concepts and skills I’ve learned from both of my majors. I’m also able to develop a deeper understanding of the City of Syracuse by working with community partners to use mapping as means to visualize its social and economic issues.
I worked with Northside Urban Partnership by providing data and maps for their successfully grant funded workforce development program. I mapped manufacturing sites to connect Northside residents to more employment opportunities, located minority and women owned businesses, and attended talks on what it takes to create an equitable workforce. I also updated relevant datasets for our online mapping application, MapSyracuse, and helped to create the Morningside Cultural Trail Map through trail mapping and creation of the trail map itself. Through the Community Geography course (GEO 485), I also worked collaboratively to determine geographically accessibility of availability of child care providers and universal pre-kindergarten sites in Onondaga and Cayuga counties.
In the future, I hope to use the experiences I gain at SCG to work with other urban communities to do community development work.
UPDATE: Currently working as a Community Impact Intern at American Communities Trust in Philadelphia, PA.