WPCOG Hosts Education Matters STEM Tour Students

By Averi Ritchie

WPCOG Stem Tour Image
On Wednesday, November 9, 2016, the WPCOG hosted over eighty STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) students at our offices. The students were from Newton-Conover Middle School and were part of the Education Matters Extreme STEM Tour.
Students learned about planning, transportation, mapping, and air and water quality as well as potential career choices in each sector.
Types of jobs highlighted include Land Use Planners, Transportation Planners, Geographic Information Specialists, Cartographers, Environmental Specialists, Water Quality and Air Quality Specialists, Data Analysts, GPS field technicians, Information Technology Specialists, Project Managers, and Recreation Specialists.
Students visited three stations. Each station offered basic career descriptions and insight into required training. Featured stations included:
Environmental Planning
Senior Planner and Natural Resource Administrator, John E. Wear, and Data Analyst, Taylor Dellinger, discussed with students the importance of implementing policies and initiatives relating to stormwater management, air quality, water quality and land use.
GIS and Data Analysis
GIS Analyst, Tom Bell, and GIS Technician, Todd Stroupe, gave a brief overview of how Geographic Information Systems maintain an active role in many initiatives. Our IT/GIS Services team plays a crucial role in maintaining a vast library of local, county, regional and statewide datasets to support various WPCOG projects. These projects range from digital mapping solutions to geospatial data services and demographic data.
Transportation/Land Use Planning
Planners, Erin Schotte and Leslie Meadows, Transportation Planner, Cody Moneymaker, and Planning Technician, Averi Ritchie, covered a broad range of topics about zoning, code enforcement, long-range transportation planning and pedestrian/bicycle-friendly infrastructure. Students were given a basic understanding of the roles and necessary requirements involved in transportation and land use planning.