From Intern to Researcher: Learning to Present on a Global Stage

At the 2023 International Cartographic Conference in South Africa, Lyndsey Hofmann was invited to share her work on Northern Virginia housing trends


At a gathering of thought leaders and researchers from around the world, USGIF Education and Professional Development Coordinator Lyndsey Hofmann presented her original research, conducted during her graduate program.

At the 2023 International Cartographic Conference in South Africa, Hofmann was invited to share her work on Northern Virginia housing trends before an international audience of students, Geographical Information Systems (GIS) industry professionals, and academia. Her research focused on the regional housing dynamics in the Northern Virginia area, where housing has changed drastically since the 1990s and early 2000s.

Overlooking Cape Town from Table Mountain

Her research proved useful to local municipalities’ government programs that focus on housing. The primary tool for this research was geospatial software and programming that allowed for better understanding and visualization of these issues.

“I’ve spent the last year and a half researching real estate dynamics and trends in the Northern Virginia area. The region faces an ever-changing dilemma: housing affordability and the cost of housing drives certain communities to reassess their living situation in Northern Virginia. GIS analysis and mapping housing trends have been immensely helpful in local policymaking and better understanding the future of housing,” Hofmann says.

Hofmann, who was also a USGIF intern, discussed how empowering it was to engage with other young people beginning their careers in the geospatial industry, many of whom were similarly motivated to tackle issues directly affecting their communities.

Some presentations were centered around the GEOINT community and technological advances that bolster the industry, while others discussed issues with map and data accessibility across academia. The variety of presentations allowed for vast learning opportunities and gave a global perspective on the most pressing topics of discussion in the geospatial community.

Hofmann called the trip “life-changing” and addressed how she will bring what she experienced to her new role at USGIF. “After seeing students talk about work that they are excited about and proud of, I have so much enthusiasm for my new role in education and professional development,” she says. “This conference was proof of how the field of GIS is growing, and there is so much need for up-and-coming GEOINT professionals in the U.S. government and beyond.”

A recent graduate of George Mason’s Geographic and Cartographic Sciences master’s program, Hofmann offers this advice to students: “Take advantage of opportunities that will empower you and don’t be afraid to take the stage. There is room for everyone in this community, where these topics are discussed at length and new ideas are encouraged.”

USGIF provides students with opportunities and resources to advance their careers including scholarships, internships, and the GEOINT Symposium. Visit the USGIF website or connect with us on LinkedIn to learn how to invest in your GEOINT career!

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