March Undergraduate of the Month: Ben Whong
Congratulations to our March Undergraduate of the Month, Ben Whong! He is a Senior majoring in Geographical Information Science who will be pursuing his MPSGIS degree here at UMD after graduation. Thanks Ben for being a wonderful example of our department's committed and compassionate student body.
What are your interests within your program(s)?
Remote Sensing, Human-Environment Interactions, Natural Resource Management
What previous jobs, internships, and volunteer experience have you had?
I have interned for the Department of Energy and the International Rescue Committee.
Where are you/have you been interning?
In Summer 2017 I interned for the International Rescue Committee, a global humanitarian relief organization whose mission is to resettle refugees within the United States.
What are your internship responsibilities?
I was a member of the New Roots program, which oversees multiple community gardens throughout Baltimore City. These gardens provide refugees a means to grow their own fruits and vegetables, giving them a connection to the land, the community, and the agricultural traditions of their homeland.
What project(s) are you working on or contributing to?
One of my main projects was organizing and executing public transportation workshops for refugees in Baltimore City. These workshops focused on teaching Congolese refugees how to use Baltimore’s bus system to access local farmers’ markets.
How is the internship experience relevant to your studies in Geographical Sciences?
Refugee issues are centered on how people move throughout space and across borders and thus have relevance in the realm of geographical sciences. Refugee migration and acculturation are of great interest to me, and as a GIS major I seek to apply the technical knowledge I learn in my classes to human issues such as these.
What are your career goals after your graduate?
I plan on pursuing a graduate degree here at UMD via the MPSGIS program. By further accumulating skills and knowledge within my field, I seek to continue to open opportunities to use GIS in ways that inspire me.
What are some of your hobbies?
Fishing, hiking, travelling; I’m also a member of the Quidditch team here at UMD.
Where are you from?
What has been your favorite class at UMD? Why?
African American History to 1865- . I enjoy history to begin with, and I was lucky enough to have a fantastic professor who presented the material in an interesting and engaging way. Each class felt like a collection of stories rather than dry lectures.
If you could travel to anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
South Africa; New Zealand.