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Student Success

Emma Mullins ’23 Pursues Passion for Geographic Information Systems

Portrait of Emma Mullins - Emma Mullins '23 Pursues Passion for Geographic Information systems - College of Natural Resources News NC State University

Emma Mullins will graduate in December 2023 with a bachelor’s degree in environmental management and technology.

Upon graduation, Mullins will pursue a Master of Geospatial Information Science and Technology degree at NC State’s Center for Geospatial Analytics.

We recently spoke with Mullins to learn more about her experience at the College of Natural Resources and how it’s prepared her for success.

What were some of your most memorable experiences at NC State?

Some of my most memorable experiences were related to my lab courses. During my ecology lab, for example, I had the opportunity to visit numerous sites around the Triangle, both private and public, which allowed me to gain hands-on experience. Similarly, as part of my water quality and soils lab, I got to conduct experiments at Schenck Forest that working professionals get to do in their day-to-day jobs.

Did you have a favorite class and/or professor?

My favorite class was GIS 280: Introduction to Geographic Information Systems. I really loved the projects and getting the results that I could communicate to my peers. I always enjoyed doing my work for this class and I would actually look forward to the afternoons that I would dedicate to the assignments and projects. It is the class that made me realize I wanted to pursue geographic information systems as a part of my career.

I had some really great professors in my time at NC State like La’Meshia Whittington, Jennifer Richmond-Bryant, Jordan Kern, William Paige and Stacy Supak. Above all for me was Angela Allen. She came into the Environmental Technology and Management program at the same time I did, and we got the opportunity to grow with the program together. She watches over all the students in the program and does anything to help them succeed.

What motivated you to pursue your major?

I went to an engineering curriculum-based magnet high school so I initially pursued the Engineering First Year program here at NC State. However, after I attended an “open house” during my senior year of high school, I transferred into the Sustainable Materials and Technology program at the College of Natural Resources. I was drawn to the small student body and the overall positivity of the faculty and students. While I enjoyed the Sustainable Materials and Technology program, I thought it was a bit too specific for my interests. When I found out about the Environmental Technology and Management program in the second semester of my freshman year, it was exactly what I wanted. The curriculum seemed like the perfect balance of technical classes, labs and policy classes, and it was perfect for me. The subject matter was what I was most interested in in high school, and I continue to be fascinated by it every day.

How has the College of Natural Resources prepared you for your future?

The professional development courses I received at the College of Natural Resources have been vital to my success in internships and job applications as well as in my acceptance to graduate school. The hands-on experience I gained in my classes and labs is exactly what employers are looking for. The exposure to different aspects of the field helped me find my path and my advisors worked with me to pave the way to where I am now and where I am going.

What advice would you give students entering your major?

Take good notes and keep them because they will be helpful later. Keep on top of your work and plan for big assignments. Participate in the events offered on the program level, on the college level, and on the university level, especially career fairs. Take advantage of the network that you form in your classes and at the college-level because you never know who will help you find a job in the future.