Town of Kingsville
As a graduate student at Wilfrid Laurier University, Roger Palmini focussed his research on geomatics, geo-sensing and cartography. Upon graduation, he served as a sessional instructor at Laurier before landing his current position at the Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA). Palmini and his colleagues at the ERCA are tasked with managing the natural resources of the region, while working in partnership with numerous municipalities and the Province of Ontario.
1. What resources offered by your university helped you find a job after graduation?
There was a lot of trial and error. I was initially enrolled in Computer Science at Laurier and took Geography as an option. GIS really appealed to me because of the applied computer skills that come along with it. After my first geography course, I met with people in the department and that largely influenced my career path. From there, I switched majors, developed relationships with my professors and made a point to talk to them during their office hours. Taking time to establish those links was crucial to my progress in the field.
2. Looking back, what would you have done differently?
If I had to do it all over again, I probably would have chosen
more meaningful electives. There are a lot of aspects of my job that are related to other disciplines, such as engineering and politics. Many of the electives I took were not suited towards my current career.
3. In what ways did your program prepare you for your career?
Graduate school enabled me to apply additional skills to the basic knowledge I already acquired during my undergraduate studies, including time management. Despite this, there is always a lot to learn from hands-on work and training experience.
4. What skills do you wish you learned during your education that would help you in the job market today?
Even though I transferred out of the program, I wish I had taken more advanced computer science courses. Eventually, I developed those competencies while working on the job, but it would have been helpful to master them earlier on.
5. Do you have any advice for students wishing to attain a fulfilling career in geography?
Make connections, go to conferences, get to know your professors and involve yourself in as many different initiatives as you can. The more you get out there and learn about different people and what they are doing, the more beneficial it will be for you in the long run.
Canadian Association of Geographers
PO Box 35047 Westgate
Ottawa, ON K1Z 1A2