Spotlight on Graduate Research
T.J. NantaisRealize your scientific interests and professional goals through close interaction with your faculty advisors. Read how one student's connections are giving him an edge and a head start on his career.

Analyzing data

Name: T.J. Nantais

Year: First-year graduate student

Graduate program: Geographic Information Systems

Hometown: Shelby Township, Mich.

The U.S. Geological Survey has taken notice of CMU’s Geography Department through a $392,000 research grant to map areas along the Great Lakes. T.J. Nantais is among the graduate assistants analyzing data for this project.

Opportunity for advancement: "I had talked to Dr. Tao Zheng, Dr. Brian Becker and Dr. David Patton about the GIS graduate program at CMU and possibly applying for a graduate assistantship. When Dr. Zheng and Dr. Becker revealed that they could use some graduate assistants to help with this project, I saw it as a golden opportunity."

Lifetime application: "This research is providing me with invaluable knowledge and experience that will give me an edge when applying for jobs in the future. Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) remote sensing is a relatively new topic in remote sensing, and the fact that I will have a year experience of LiDAR processing before I even reach the career realm is a priceless experience."

Exceeding expectations for the future: "I would have never envisioned the amount of education, skills and experience that I have acquired and continue to acquire as of result of this research opportunity. I hope to apply education in natural resources biology, in combination with my furthered education in GIS, to some aspect of environmental analysis and research." ​