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NGTOC Students Provide Energy, Enthusiasm, and Expertise

By Kari J. Craun

Student and term employees and managers at a pizza luncheon. Student and term employees and managers at a pizza luncheon held recently at the NGTOC Rolla location. The luncheon provided an opportunity for everyone to meet and learn about each other's work.
Photo Credit: Angie Feeler

The National Geospatial Technical Operations Center (NGTOC), located in both Denver, Col., and Rolla, Mo., typically employs from 30 to 40 students (combined) for both locations. These students participate in all aspects of the work of the NGTOC, including staffing the supply room, performing quality assurance on high-resolution elevation data, programming, and providing technical expertise to basic and applied research. Students are working in all parts of the organization and contribute energy and new ideas to everything they do.

Our managers and students alike believe the addition of students to the NGTOC workforce represents a win-win—with both the organization and the students benefiting. The organization benefits by gaining fresh ideas and exposure to new and different ways of thinking about the work we do. The students gain real-world, on-the-job training that provides experience and a solid addition to their resumes.

Photo of Kristina Yamamoto
Former NGTOC Student Career Experience Program student, now permanent employee(!) Kristina Yamamoto featured on DOI's YouthGO.gov Web site.
Photo Credit: Angie Feeler
Photo of Amanda Lowe NGTOC Student Employee Amanda Lowe making a presentation about the work she is doing on elevation data quality assurance.
Photo Credit: Angie Feeler

Leslie Lansbery, a student at the NGTOC in Rolla, in the orthoimagery and elevation section, said this about her work as a student with the USGS:

"As a student employee, the USGS has given me many opportunities, including field work, specialized training, and poster/talk presentations, which have expanded my work experience all while attending graduate school. Everyone at the USGS has been positive and valued everything we can do—and has helped us strive for even more."

And, from a student mentor perspective, scientist Mike Finn of the Center of Excellence in Geographic Information Science had this to say about students he works with in the NGTOC:

"They bring in new perspectives, have a keen awareness of technology, and have provided valuable contributions to many of our projects. They are often very eager and diligent. They bring fresh ideas from their university courses and want to apply them to their USGS assignments (our tasks, our problems). Most of them are very open to 'coaching.' Often, they bring skills to the team that we do not possess at all, making them even more valuable."