There are many courses that have shaped my learning in Interdisciplinary studies, but this semester I would like to talk about two that have stood out for me. They are “Intro to Applied Hydrology” which is an Environmental Science and Policy class that deals with the physics and mechanics surrounding the study of hydrology. The other class is called “Computer Mapping” and this class teaches about the computer mapping systems that are used most frequently in the United States for Federal Agencies. These programs include Google Maps, Quantum GIS (Graphic Information Systems), and ArcGIS. This class is a geographic systems class and is an excellent class that teaches beginners how to use these mapping systems.
Intro to Applied Hydrology: While this course teaches about the mechanics, physics and science behind hydrology, it also goes over current policies we have in the unites stated and helps students understand hydrology using hands on experience. This class provides both in class lectures and labs. The labs can be one of the following: In class understanding of hydrologic systems by analyzing data from credible sources online, or in field analysis of water movement, flooding, soil saturation, infiltration, and many other aspects of hydrology. Not only do I find the labs interesting, but doing the labs have provided me with a set of skills that I will be taking with my for future careers with my degree. These labs help me understand Microsoft Excel better, and how I can use coding and equations to produce charts and tables that accurately represent my experiment. In the field, I like doing experiments where I can use the raw data I take, make calculations on it, and provide feedback that addresses issues in the real world. I feel like the skills I learned in this class will be beneficial for future careers in environmental science because human interaction and environmental interaction with water is always changing and its important to monitor it since water is important to all life on Earth.
Computer Mapping: I have fallen in love with this course in my personal opinion. It is unique, intuitive and teaches students how to utilize different mapping technology that people use from a personal setting to a professional setting. Computer Mapping talks about big and small details about mapping from the past to the present. First students learn about early mapping (without technology) and the different types of maps that were created for travel leading up to and including the global map we are familiar with. Then we learn how technology has aided with our development of maps and understanding of traveling our globe. Then students are taught to use computer mapping systems to accurately represent both spatial and non spatial data (which includes numerical, nominal, and other types of data that can be represented by points, lines and polygons). Data is collected from online sources and saved as a kmz file which is then brought into one of the computer systems for mapping. Examples of this include Newfound Lake Temperature Data from Newfound Lake in NH, Top 12 states for maple syrup production in the United States, Watershed Hydrology systems in NH, and much more. I have thoroughly enjoyed learning this great skill this semester, as it is needed for many jobs in the environmental science and natural science fields. It’s also an important skill that I believe more interdisciplinary scientists should know because it is extremely beneficial and helps present your data in a clean visual way.
The reason I picked these classes is no coincidence, it is because they are both used together in the Environmental Science world. Data is collected from on-field samplings on a specific location in the environmental science field (or multiple locations depending on the study or experiment), once the data is collected it is plugged into the computer and used in computer mapping. It can be used to map locations of a specific data set with given values, polygons of certain locations with information attached or can be used to map certain landscapes, water pathways or features. Computer mappings helps scientific data to be presented in a clear way that can help those who don’t specialize in the field understand what the study or experiment was about, why its important, and what we can do to fix a situation should it arise.
Moreover, I find that these courses will be extremely beneficial in my career because they have opened me up to new experiences and have allowed me to acquire different skills that would be useful to companies and agencies involved in environmental science, computer science, hydrology, geology, earth science, and many other disciplines. They are great courses for interdisciplinary scientists and I would most certainly recommend them because these skills can help with building resumes that would be useful for any jobs in environmental science related fields.