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Brendan Spearin: An Esri Canada Scholarship Recipient

The Esri Canada Scholarship provides recipients with great networking opportunities, funding and access to extensive GIS resources including Esri software, books and training to develop their GIS skills and knowledge. This story highlights how winning the scholarship inspired the career path of a young GIS professional.

In 2012, Brendan Spearin was awarded an Esri Canada Scholarship from Brock University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science Honours Degree.  Using the software he received from the scholarship, Brendan worked on a Wind Turbines project and developed a model to compare setback distances from different jurisdictions. The resources he received from the scholarship allowed him to attend the Esri Canada User Conference  in London, at which he saw the potential use of ArcGIS software in a variety of fields. Brendan also had the opportunity to complete several online Esri training courses, which supported the development of his ArcGIS skills.

Brendan believes the scholarship's biggest influence was putting him on a career path to become a GIS professional. Before receiving the Esri Canada scholarship, he was debating his post-graduation options, but that all changed when he received the award. Attending the Esri User Conference showed him that he had barely scratched the surface of ArcGIS. Brendan then enrolled at Niagara College, and was able to use the bursary, included in the scholarship, to pay for all of the textbooks required for three semesters of the Geographic Information Systems - Geospatial Management program (GIS-GM). 

In 2013, Brendan graduated from the Niagara College GIS-GM and is currently working under contract for Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), as well as Niagara Research. At the DFO, he works on a variety of projects that involve the use of GIS software to assist in fisheries management and communication with stakeholders. He enjoys working on a multi-disciplinary team and his GIS and database knowledge are used to assist biologists in their own decision making. Brendan started as a GIS Research Assistant at Niagara Research when he began his post-graduate program at Niagara College. Since graduating from the program, Brendan has been promoted to Associate.  

The Esri Canada Scholarship Program is a great way to help higher education students further their spatial analysis skills and to encourage them to follow a career path that includes GIS.  For more information on the program, visit Esri Canada

Figure 1.1: Map produced by Brendan Spearin using ArcGIS shortly after winning an Esri Canada Scholarship.

About the Author

Angela Alexander is a K-12 Education Resource Developer on the Esri Canada Education and Research team. She has over six years of experience working with educators across Canada. Angela is responsible for producing geographic information system (GIS) and curriculum specific resources, conducting and creating custom workshops for educators and judging and developing the question for the annual GIS Skills Ontario competition in Waterloo, Ontario. Angela has a Bachelor’s degree in Geography and Sociology from the University of Western Ontario and completed the Applied Digital Geography and GIS certificate program at Ryerson University.

Profile Photo of Angela Alexander