Student Employee Spotlight: Mary Williams

By Grace Cooper 

The Geospatial Centroid is a busy department at the CSU Libraries. It serves as a resource for students, faculty, staff and campus organizations working in the growing field of geospatial data and mapping. It’s also a second home on campus for student employees like Mary Williams (B.A. ‘22). 

Mary Williams standing in a grassy, mountainous area with dead trees in the background.
Mary Williams

“It’s just kind of a hub on campus for any and all geospatial needs,” said Williams, who is working towards her degree in ecosystem science and sustainability with a minor in geospatial information sciences. “I was hired to do drone image processing and worked this summer doing drone surveys of the Cameron Peak fire.”  

Hired just before the COVID-19 pandemic began, Williams’ experience has looked far different than expected, but provided many opportunities for growth.  

Collaboration and communication

“We worked with the communications department at the Libraries last spring to put together a geospatial video every week, and so that was really cool,” she said. “It looked different. A lot of Zoom meetings. And we had our weekly meetings still, but it was just hard to connect with people and get that experience of being in person with your peers.”  

These limitations have proven challenging for Williams and other student workers, but Williams still highly values the network of people she has connected with through her work at the Libraries.  

Fostering connections during a challenging time

Williams’ GIS mapping project showing drone mapping over the Cameron Peak Fire. Photo by Mary Williams.

“I think a really important skill (that’s) not necessarily GIS related is just socializing, interacting, networking and meeting people,” Williams said.  “I think those are just extremely valuable skills that were kind of hard to get outside of the online classroom, and so I’ve been really fortunate to make a lot of great connections with some advisors, the director of the Centroid, and my different professors and classmates that are also interested in GIS.”  

Despite challenging times, the Geospatial Centroid has helped Williams to feel prepared, connected and confident to enter her career field once she graduates.  

You can help student workers succeed

The Library Student Employee Support fund was created to help us continue to provide students with meaningful employment and the opportunity to develop valuable workplace skills through their work at Morgan Library, like the opportunities at the Geospatial Centroid.

Give to the Library Student Employee Support Fund

Give to the Geospatial Centroid Fund