GIS Administrative Assistant
Rasor and Associates
Terrell

“I work for a civil engineer whose firm specializes in small and medium-sized municipalities, designing sanitation, sewers, drainage, ground and elevated storage tanks. He does the design, and I do all the paperwork that gets it all done.

“I really pushed to get my certification to say that I’m a GIS technician. Every day on the job, I use skills I learned in my GIS classes. I’m telling you, it would happen that each time I learned a particular skill in class, I’d come across it at work a couple of weeks later — not six months later, but immediately. This year, our company picked up four new jobs that were strictly GIS.

“I just stumbled on Brookhaven’s GIS program; I’d been using GIS arc mapping since 2004 ended up in a class my boss had encouraged me to go to that had to do with water and wastewater. I’d been creating maps but not letting anybody see them; I didn’t feel I had enough knowledge, but I picked up a flyer on this class and went. And then after I was so excited about that one class, my boss agreed that I needed to go back to school.

In October of 2009, I was in a GIS class when Scott said they were thinking about a trip to a private island in Belize, and all three of us in the back row raised our hands and said we definitely wanted to go. I had no passport and had never been out of the country — but that was the beginning. I said I wanted to learn to scuba dive before I went, and since then have earned my open water diver, advanced diver and rescue diver certifications — in fact I’m just one class away from becoming a divemaster.

“I love the way that Scott Sires teaches. One thing I’ve learned: if we don’t know what something is, we learn to know where to go to get it. “My advice to someone considering this field? Try on the program for size and start with some basic classes; see what it is that the rest of us know what GIS can do for you.

“What we’re doing down in Belize is so important. It’s important on a large scale for the good of the environment, but it’s also been important for me as an individual to have this opportunity to grow and learn.

Dorothy Dillon holds an associate degree in computer science from Trinity Valley Community College-Terrell, also the location of the company she works for, Rasor and Associates, as a GIS administrative assistant. She earned a GIS Technician certificate at Brookhaven College in May 2010 and is close to completing her associate degree in GIS as well.