“So you want to go into NASA?” is one response that I heard when telling someone that I am majoring in Environmental Studies and minoring in Spatial Studies. I had to clarify that it is not spatial as in outer space, but spatial as in spatial analysis and thinking. The connection between the latter understanding of spatial studies and Environmental Studies may not seem quite as obvious, but a minor in Spatial Studies complements my major perfectly by giving me an understanding of how to use spatial frameworks and various geotechnologies to better understand environmental issues. Spatial Studies teaches students how to look at our world and determine different patterns, trends, and relationships, and then analyze these to make decisions. Some of these decisions in regards to the environment include actions to take following natural disasters, the clean-up of hazardous waste sites, and the management of natural resources.
The use of geotechnologies is becoming increasingly prominent in careers in the environmental field. I plan on going down the path of environmental consulting, where GIS analysis and remote sensing are frequently used. GIS allows environmental consultants (and students) to analyze environmental problems because of their geographic component. Using GIS, environmental consultants can analyze data, monitor water quality and the status of biodiversity conservation programs, and to model landscape features and species habitat, to name just a few applications. Having the ability and skillset to work with these geotechnologies out of undergrad gives ENST majors a distinct advantage when choosing careers.