Monica Finnstrom - Spatial Studies offers the unique opportunity of bringing new insights to many different fields of study by applying spatial thinking. My interest in GIS stemmed from taking classes with the Spatial Sciences Institute, where I immediately became fascinated by its practicality and wide-spread application. As an Environmental Science and Health major, I found the Spatial Studies minor to be the perfect complement to my course of study. This minor allowed me to go beyond acquiring knowledge and provided an essential technical skillset within environmental applications.
Through the minor, I have had the opportunity to work with the Spatial Sciences Institute as an undergraduate researcher with Dr. Su Jin Lee and fellow students for two years. During my first year of research, I was able to use spatial thinking for an environmental project analyzing the spatial patterns of air pollution and different contributing factors in Los Angeles County. For my second year of research, I participated in a study looking at how municipal policies affect tree cover within the 30 largest cities in Los Angeles County. These research opportunities have provided me with valuable experience and have cultivated my interest in GIS.
I have since completed my B.S. in Environmental Science and Health and minor in Spatial Studies in May 2018. I have decided to continue my GIS journey by pursuing the M.S. in Geographic Information Science and Technology through the Progressive Degree Program. This will enable me to further develop my skillset and to help me advance in my future career. Ultimately, I want to utilize GIS to help solve environmental problems and critically apply spatial thinking to environmental issues. - Monica Finnstrom