Carley Anne Critser Fitzgerald
GIS Professional, Highlands County Board of County Commissioners
Pursue a STEM field to be active drivers of your generation and future ones.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
I use computer programs and GIS software to help manage geospatial information for a government entity. My work helps make informed decisions for a variety of departments from Emergency Management to Parks and Recreation. This involves data analysis, cartography, and creating interactive maps and applications for the public to use to gain a better understanding of features in our community.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS FIELD?
Even as a young child I always had a sense of direction that impressed adults. After majoring in 2 different STEM subjects in university that I did not enjoy, I was taking an elective in "GIS and Intro to Maps". I fell in love with the subject, changed my major, and started a new career path. The ability to take large volumes of complex data and work out the best way to display this geographically, aesthetically, and in a way that the end user finds useful is so powerful.
WHAT DO YOU LOOK AT & THINK, "I WISH YOUNGER ME WOULD HAVE KNOWN THIS WAS POSSIBLE?"
I recently achieved my professional certification in GIS. I wish that younger me would have prepared and attempted to take the test for it sooner.
WHY DO YOU LOVE WORKING IN STEM?
I love working in STEM because it powers our future. A million individual professionals working in STEM create change and growth. I wake up every morning looking forward to solving a new problem. How can I best represent this data?
BEST ADVICE FOR NEXT GENERATION?
I would encourage the next generation of girls to pursue a STEM field to be active drivers of their generation and future ones. To be the change they wish to see. If you see a problem, you have the power to fix it. And reach out to other women in the field and find a mentor or male advocate that will lift you up and encourage your growth.
INSPO / FUN FACT
Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you. - Ruth Bader Ginsburg