GIS Day a fun way to learn about science

photo of a 4Rivers employee talking to two women at the 2022 GIS Day with a driving simulator in the photoCHEYENNE, Wyoming – The community is invited to Laramie County Community College on Nov. 15 for a day highlighting the role Geographic Information Systems (GIS) play in modern life. 

Geographic Information Systems Day will feature several events celebrating how GIS helps improve people’s lives every day. Activities begin at 10 a.m. in the ANB Bank Leadership Center in the Clay Pathfinder Building on LCCC’s Cheyenne campus.

Natanya Sam, a sophomore at LCCC, said she wasn’t familiar with GIS until she went to last year’s event. Upon encountering the day’s events, Sam said she was drawn to studying science. Today, Sam is studying physical sciences in the STEM Pathway at LCCC. 

“When I went to GIS Day, I understood it was what made things like our maps and navigational aids work,” San said. 

GIS is a computer system that analyzes and displays geographically referenced information, according to the U.S. Department of Interior. These systems can display different kinds of data on a single map, such as streets, structures and plant life. 

For Trent Morrell, LCCC’s STEM Pathway coordinator, it’s more than just helping students and the community understand how GIS works — it’s also about helping people find ways to fulfilling careers. 

“It’s used daily, including in industry,” he said. “You don’t have to be a geospatial scientist or GIS expert to understand how to use the tools in a career. If you know a little more about it, it can make you more employable when you’re attaining a degree and searching for a job.” 

Former Wyoming Gov. Jim Geringer will welcome guests to the day’s events, followed by lightning talks by various GIS professionals. A free lunch will be served from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Local weather expert Don Day Jr. will speak at noon, followed by hands-on workshops and demonstrations at 1 p.m. GIS emersion with local professionals will take place throughout the day. A trivia night hosted by STEAM Club, LCCC’s student organization focused on STEM fields, is from 5:30-7 p.m. with great prizes available for winners. 

The day’s activities will include another exciting and educational opportunity in a scavenger hunt led by LCCC’s medical microbiology students. Junior high and high school students can participate in the hunt where they’ll have fun while learning about microbiology’s impact on public health. Participants will be entered in a chance to win a $500 scholarship made possible by the STEM Pathway. The more challenges the participants complete, the higher their chances of winning. 

“We wanted to find a way of sharing what we were learning in our microbiology class,” said Amanda Sinnott, a freshman at LCCC majoring in biology. “We feel like people really learn when they’re engaged, so we’re making this engaging.” 

Go to lccc.wy.edu/STEM for more information about the STEM Pathway.