Written by 2017 NSF REU, Flooding and Disaster Management Student Scholar, Rutgers University Senior, Kate Brandt.

One of my favorite aspects of research is having the opportunity to share experiences and knowledge with others. Last week, I was able to do just that at the Esri Ocean Forum in Redlands, California along with other members of the Citizen Science GIS team. I represented the 2017 Flooding and Disaster Management team to present “Integrating Local Knowledge: Assessing Disaster Preparedness in Hopkins, Belize.” This was my first-ever conference, and I was very excited to present how I had spent my summer and the findings of project as well as learn from other people who are just as passionate about GIS. Given that the forum was hosted by Esri, there was a unique opportunity to tour the campus, learn about the projects and services of the company, and network with the staff. I was even able to hear feedback on my presentation from Dr. Dawn Wright, Chief Scientist at Esri, after she moderated my session! This was an amazing experience that helped me develop academically and professionally, and I am grateful for the opportunity to continue my work with the REU even through this year.

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