Scholarship Testimonials

Shannon Jones GISITR 2017 Scholarship Recipient

PhD Student
Department of Geography
University of Denver


The 2017 GISITR scholarship has provided me with the funds I need to analyze large datasets using ArcGIS, Terrset, and HEC-HMS and WATEM/SEDEM modelling software programs for my dissertation project and research assistantship. Because my school laptop/research computer was over 6 years old, I used the scholarship money to purchase a Lenovo Ideapad 320 to conduct my GIS analyses and to purchase a 1 TB Google Cloud Drive annual subscription to store and manage my data.

A component of my research is focused on modeling precipitation and runoff, land use change, and sediment discharge in Central American watersheds. This requires delineating watersheds from rasters and inputting information on precipitation, soil characteristics, land use, and hydrology into a model for analysis. Thus, having a laptop and cloud drive to run multiple-input modeling programs and to have access to these datasets while in the field is invaluable and has greatly contributed to my research project.

Madeline Kelley GISITR 2017 Scholarship Recipient

M.S. Student/Graduate Teaching Assistant
Department of Geography and the Environment
University of Denver


My master’s work at the University of Denver explores the application of GIS in flood risk communication. Specifically examining the pairing of quantitative and qualitative data from various sources, I implemented a proof-of-concept project in Boulder County, Colorado. Employing focus groups of community members and planners, I explored stakeholders’ data preferences for communicating flood risk. A prototype web application titled ‘Flood Risk Information System’ was developed using various procedures ranging from traditional geographic information science methods to neogeography concepts. The FRIS aims to serve as a replicable communication tool for stakeholders that fills existing gaps in flood risk perceptions.

The 2017 GIS Rockies Scholarship was instrumental in the success of my master’s degree in its entirety. The scholarship award allowed me to expand the number of focus groups, increase stakeholder input, increase participant compensation, and decreased the economic stressors affiliated with graduate school (i.e., buying books and equipment on a limited budget). These impacts not only improved the project but granted me the opportunity to make the most of my education.

Upon first moving to Colorado, I searched for a community that supported GIS professionals and research. GIS Colorado and GIS in the Rockies have provided camaraderie, professional guidance, and now generous financial support. I hope the scholarship continues to impact other eager scientists for a long time.