Mapping success: CMU alum's journey from GIS student to environmental consultant

| Author: Lucia Dominguez | Media Contact:

From the fall of 2017 to the spring of 2022, Mike Visscher delved into the world of GIS and land use planning at CMU. With a keen interest in environmental studies and a passion for geography and under the guidance of dedicated professors who encouraged him to explore different avenues within his field, he grew more confident in his abilities.

Transitioning from student life to the workforce was a gradual process for Mike, facilitated by an accelerated GIS master's program and hands-on training during his final semester. Extracurricular activities, such as helping out to kickstart the Geography and Environmental Studies club, further prepared him for the challenges of the professional world.

Upon graduation, Mike found himself at Fleis & Vandenbrink, a civil engineering consulting firm. Here, he discovered the dynamic intersection between environmental science and engineering, where his GIS expertise played a pivotal role. From analyzing historic contamination releases, to planning investigative drilling activities and assessing data from those events and eventually closing out Part 213 Sites, Mike embraced the diversity of his work, happy for the opportunity to continue learning.

Reflecting on his college experience, Mike recognized the invaluable lessons learned both inside and outside the classroom. Courses like Soil Science and Environmental Studies Capstone provided hands-on experiences and insights into real-world applications, while interactions with professors offered a glimpse into the professional world beyond academia. He highlighted how both aspects are important for entering the professional world.

Mike emphasized the power of connections and the importance of building a strong network to open doors to opportunities. “Truly get to know people and make sure to keep in touch because you never know when an internal referral can help connect you with an opportunity. Remember to back up that referral with your work ethic and willingness to take on challenges.”

Looking back on his time at CMU, Mike cherished memories of outdoor adventures with the Environmental Club and unforgettable trips to Beaver Island. Furthermore, Mike would like to thank the entire department, especially professors Becker, Heumann, and Francek, whose guidance and mentorship paved the way for his success.

Thank you so much for sharing your story, Mike! We are so excited to see what else you will accomplish and as always Fire Up!

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