An essential experience in the GIST graduate programs is a week-long course held at the Wrigley Marine Science Center on Catalina Island. The frequent use of this valuable USC facility has led to strong ties between the USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies, which runs the center, and the Spatial Sciences Institute.
GIST students Elizabeth Hart and Jessica Eselius are pictured in the recently-released Wrigley Institute casebook — an extended brochure highlighting the Institute’s focal areas and accomplishments. GIST and SSI are used to illustrate the interdisciplinary work that characterizes environmental studies at USC:
Led by Darren Ruddell of USC Dornsife’s Spatial Sciences Institute, graduate students Elizabeth Hart and Jessica Eselius use a Trimble GeoXH — the highest-grade civilian GPS unit available — to collect data as part of their capstone field project at the USC Wrigley Marine Science Center. Their work is part of USC Dornsife’s unique online graduate program in Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIST). GIST fosters the geospatial skills that are in ever-increasing demand in such fields as emergency management, environmental management, food production, intelligence, public safety, real estate, telecommunications and utilities, as well as fundamental Earth system research. The U.S. Department of Labor recently identified geospatial analysis as one of the three most important emerging areas of future employment growth.
Both the unique setting and the integrated institutional support from USC Wrigley Institute make the Catalina week the highlight of many students’ experience in the GIST programs.