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Student Spotlight: Innocensia Owuor, Geomatics

Geomatics PhD student Innocensia Owuor was recently awarded the Paul R. Wolf Memorial Scholarship from the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing. This award is given to students who display exceptional interest, desire, ability, and aptitude to enter the profession of teaching Surveying, Mapping, or Photogrammetry.

This award is especially significant during a year in which instructors had to quickly pivot to a virtual format. We chatted with Innocensia to learn more about she was able to adapt and go above and beyond as a TA in Dr. Henry Hochmair’s GIS Programming course.

How did you find the field of Geomatics?

After high school, I knew that I loved and was good at Math, therefore, engineering seemed like the natural path to follow but I was unsure about which area to specialize in when it was time to join college. My dad, therefore, set up a meeting with a friend of his who is a Professor in Geomatics Engineering which was a burgeoning field in Kenya at that time, that marked my foray into the field.

As I neared the completion of my MSc in Geographic Information Systems, I knew that I wanted to go further in my studies because my future goal is to get into teaching and research in Geomatics, after a myriad of searches on google I stumbled upon the UF program which aligned with my interests and goals.

What was it like teaching virtually this past year?

It was my first time being a teaching assistant to Dr. Hochmair and doing this virtually helped me appreciate the flexibility it offered students as they could access me any time via email. I honed problem solving skills pertaining to a range of technology issues which are typical in an online environment and how to offer compassionate support to students as we navigated the pandemic.

What was your favorite part about your time at UF?

Being in an engaging environment facilitated by access to state-of-the-art learning resources, professors who are passionate about teaching, colleagues that I am happy to work with and working on fulfilling research that provides me the opportunity to learn every day.

What are your plans for after graduation?

I want to work in industry or academia using the research/teaching competencies I have acquired to continue solving real world problems using geospatial data.

Innocensia is a Geomatics doctoral student based at the Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center. Learn more about FLREC Geomatics here: https://flrec.ifas.ufl.edu/geomatics/