Get Kids into Survey (GKiS) is an educational program that exposes children to geospatial technology and provides intuitive, hands-on learning materials. In order to do this, GKiS relies heavily on the support of companies as sponsors and industry professionals as advocates.
L. I. Smith & Associates (LIS) is proud to support this program as a sponsor, as well as having two staff members volunteer with the GKiS Brand Ambassador Program. Tyler LaPointe and AJ Maxwell, both Survey Technicians, volunteer their time to speak at schools and other community events in order to teach kids about surveying.
Below you can hear directly from Tyler and AJ as they discuss their reasoning for volunteering with GKiS and the differences they hope to make with the next generation of geospatial professionals.
What made you want to become involved in GKiS? What do you hope to achieve by becoming a Brand Ambassador?
I really enjoy my career in land surveying and want to share that enjoyment and knowledge with the future of the profession, the youth. This will also help to diversify the career field by reaching out to children of all backgrounds at an early age.
I wanted to be a brand ambassador because it gave me access to the resources that GKiS had to offer. It also gives exposure to our company and our initiatives to reach the younger generations in the STEM fields.
How is this program beneficial to kids and the survey industry? What will be the biggest impact made?
If you ask the average person what land surveying is, I’d be willing to bet 9 out of 10 would have no clue. GKiS helps to educate the public and allows children to learn that surveying is a career option they can pursue. Our goal is for the surveying careers tobe just as well-known as engineering or medical jobs.
GKiS allows us to take what we do as professionals and educate younger minds. Surveying at our level can be difficult to teach in a way that children understand and a way that they can get involved and interact with. The program that GKiS has built allows us to teach those concepts in a way that kids do understand and gravitate towards.
Why do you think there is such a large age gap in professionals retiring and entering into the surveying industry? How will GKiS help it?
For a very long time, surveying has been stuck in a grey area between the trade fields and professionals, leading a lot of surveyors to underbid and undersell themselves. This coupled with the surveying profession’s past difficulties in keeping up with and upgrading technology has caused a lack of training for the new generations. Hopefully with the help of GKiS, we can reach out to the youth to give them some basic knowledge of the career before they choose their future careers.
I believe that there is such a generational gap because the art of surveying has been lost over the years. It’s a subject in school that isn’t taught and isn’t talked about, so most people don’t know that it is an option. They definitely don’t know that it can be a very good career. Also, most older surveyors use old technology that gets the job done for what they need, but younger kids are surrounded by technology in their everyday life. I think from the outside looking in, the younger generations see a profession that is outdated, and this couldn’t be further from the truth! This is why educating the younger generations is so important.
Has your role at LIS given you an elevated platform to promote STEM programs such as GKiS? Why?
LIS has a leg up on other surveying and engineering firms because the leaders really want to focus on the long-term impact we can have on STEM fields. We are doing outreach that may not benefit us for 10 years or more, and that shows dedication. We as young professionals are given anything we need to grow our profession and reach out to the community, as long as we show the dedication to see it through.
My role at LIS has absolutely made an impact! Our leadership within the company sees the importance of educating these young minds. This allows us to spend time planning, getting into the classrooms, and taking time out of our workdays to effectively prepare. Also, the leadership wants badly to promote what it is we do, so they not only are willing to allow us to step away from day-to-day work duties, but they also are willing to make investments in the schools in the form of resources and materials needed, so that the teachers can educate when we can’t be there to do so.
Each day, AJ and Tyler apply and grow their skills in their roles at LIS. Now, through GKiS ,the pair have the opportunity to share their passion with the community. LIS is excited to be a part of this partnership and cannot wait to see where it will lead.
Educating our youth about geospatial technology and the vast career options is an initiative that will greatly benefit the industry over the years to come. If you would like more information about becoming a brand ambassador, visit https://www.getkidsintosurvey.com/directory/.