• Home
  • Student Ambassador Program

Student Ambassador Program

  • 12/10/2014 4:22 PM
    Message # 3168013

    In preparation for adoption of the Student Ambassador Program at the January 15th MAGIP  BOD meeting, please provide comments on the plan sent out by email to the board members. 

    Below is a digest of comments received back on the proposed program

    This sounds like a great opportunity. I’m happy to provide some input.

    After reading through this a few things come to mind:

    Depending on the scheduling of the MAGIP Board meetings and how the Education Committee operates, it may make sense to set up regular reporting to the Education Committee from the Ambassador in the form of three reports rather than quarterly reports-- a fall semester update/report in early winter, one spring semester update/report in late spring, and then a more thorough review and planning report in the summer, where the previous year’s successes and failures can be documented along with how the ambassador plans to progress things for the next academic year (or pass the role on to the next ambassador if that is the case).  

    Will there be one ambassador for each university in the University system? I assume so from the wording but didn’t see it.

    I really like the idea of increasing fringe involvement! I agree there are many departments and majors beyond geographic sciences that incorporate some level of GIS, in addition to many graduate students (or basically all of them in the environmental sciences…) that may be interested in sharing research at the Intermountain Conference or at least networking in an informal way with other campus GIS users.  It looks like the ‘Meet Up’ style gatherings are included in this plan.  Those sound like a great idea and I can imagine students picking up bits of information as well as meeting a network of peer resources that may be really helpful to one another.  Knowledge sharing in this context might be also be really useful for getting and keeping undergrads excited about GIS.

    I think it would be a great complement to the MSU GIS user community.

    Let me know if you have any questions.


    Christine Miller

    Water Quality Specialist/Hydrogeologist

    Gallatin Local Water Quality District

    Former Student


    I think everything looks spectacular!! I wish this program had been implemented when I was still in school so I'm very glad to be able to pass it on to other students. I can't wait to get started. 

    Molly Hirschi

    GIS Specialist/Planner

    Stahly Engineering & Associates

    Former Student


    I think it looks really good! I wish this program was in place when I was in school. You hit the nail on the head, from my experiences seemed like their was a lack of knowledge from students about MAGIP, which is such a great resource tool to not only professionals, but for undergraduates and graduate students. I think the BOD was overlooking this from the beginning and I'm glad you spoke with one of the students from MSU at the Summit. I don't know where I'd be if I hadn't stumbled upon MAGIP in my earlier years as as an undergrad. I learned about the conference by one or two of my professors (Diana Cooksey and Stuart Challenger) and the scholarship opportunity that came with it.
    I wish back than there was more student collaboration amongst us, they are the future of this industry and the geographic program at the university can't support the growth alone. So getting this program started will be a get start.
    I really like the Student Meet Ups idea... there would be MAGIP representative there correct?
    How many ambassadors would there be? Two, 1 from MSU, 1 from UM ?
    Discuss this once its approved, but it will impact the conference budget, but only slightly if you are increasing the amount of money budgeted for conference registration. Would there be a travel expense too for the workshops, spring meeting, conference, etc taken out of the budget?
    All slight modifications, but worth the investment. I believe this program has potential.
    Jeff Hedstrom

    Former Student


    Hi Allen – I read this through and I think the proposal needs to be reviewed by our campus GIS Certificate committee (the likely bunch).  I’m afraid this initiative won’t be successful without that input.  I’m not sure how to proceed as this is the last day of finals and most faculty have left until the start of next semester, which is after the review date and after the launch date (January 15).

    Just as a note … one thing caught my eye already.  Last item on first page, second bullet: “Tracking of Students”.  I’m pretty sure federal laws don’t allow us to do this -- if fact, I think that action would violate a few federal laws.  I’m pretty sure that the only way that could be done is if the student registers with a site on their own as a private individual not as a student.

    Let me know what you think about process.


    Mike Sweet

    University of Montana


    This is a great idea. It stands to knit new GISers and GIS university staff/professors together in a more active manner than what the MAGIP GIS Mentoring program can because the Ambassador would have a responsibility to DO THINGS and have them be measured (and have a reward!). The Mentoring Subcommittee worked under the Board’s constraint that the program had to be low cost and low maintenance. That meant that it would be self-serve and web based. The limitation of maintaining a mentee’s privacy also meant that MAGIP’s knowledge of who may be participating in the MAGIP GIS Mentoring program would come totally voluntarily. This Ambassador Program would not work under these constraints!

    There is a privacy issue that I’ve noted in my comments, though. Something to think about when the program works inside the university system with its own privacy rules. The mark-up file name has my name in it. My comments are submitted for your consideration and they are embedded in the PDF. Notes and struck text are fairly easy to see. Inserted text is indicated by a tiny blue caret symbol along the lines of text.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Diane Papineau, MS

    GIS Analyst, GISP



     I have had a chance to review the document and have several thoughts:

    • 1.       The first big question is what the level of student interest might be.  I’m sure you’ve gotten Stuart Challender’s thoughts, and he might have a better idea than I, but I would be concerned that (rightly or wrongly) students are likely to view this as a lot being asked for what is being offered.
    • 2.       This list of responsibilities does seem rather extensive to me, knowing how busy students (at least perceive) they are.  One particular item that gave me pause was the “Tracking of students”.  I’m not even sure if this is publicly available, but it generally isn’t “finalized” until some time into each term.
    • 3.       We had a somewhat similar thing with ASPRS and remote sensing several years ago.  It really only got established because of the efforts of a single student, and died when that student left.  The general reaction seemed to be (as far as I could tell) that student interest wasn’t there unless there was substantial, tangible, certain benefits.

    I don’t mean to sound negative, because I think this is a great idea in general.  Overall, I would simply urge you to consider both the level of responsibilities and the level of benefits.


    Rick Lawrence

    Professor and Director, Spatial Sciences Center - MSU

    Last modified: 01/07/2015 4:34 PM | Anonymous
  • 12/17/2014 9:42 AM
    Reply # 3171754 on 3168013
    Meghan Burns (Administrator)

    Allen, Thank you for the thoughtful outline of this program!

    I have added my comments to the draft document on Google Drive for your review.

    - I think it is great that you have ambassadors in mind, but I think this should be an application process from the start. The folks that have shown interest can apply like everyone else. But, it would be great to have their opinions about how the program should work. I think we need to be inclusive and not exclusive. It shouldn’t just be about who you know.  Also, we should have an established process for replacement should the ambassador not full-fill their duties as assigned or resign.

    - Will the Education Committee Chair be responsible for evaluating the ambassador and forming a committee to review applications?  Should someone from MAGIP attend these student meetups to represent MAGIP and push our message?  And to insure that our message is being transmitted?  What do you want the ambassador to provide in their quarterly reports and when should they submit it to the Education Committee Chair.

    Possible metrics for this program:

    • Number of Student Members

    • Number of scholarship applicants

    • Number of ambassador applicants

    • Number of students attending meetups

    • Number of students asking for travel stipends for the Intermountain Conference

    Thank you Allen!

© Montana Association of Geographic Information Professionals

MAGIP is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization in Montana

Full Scope Association and Event Management

1236 North Ave. W, Missoula, MT  59801


Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software