The Certificate of Competence in GIS in Ecosystem Management at UHMC has a new instructor, and we are happy to introduce Dr. Ferdouz Cochran. Our current GIS Educational Specialist, Sarah McLane Bryan, sat down with her to learn more about her previous work and how she will be implementing the GIS program going forward.

Mrs. Bryan: “Dr. Cochran, you are a relatively new instructor here at our college and you come to us from the University of Kansas. What experiences with Geography and GIS will you be sharing with our students?”

Dr. Cochran: “Yes, I completed a PhD in Geography from the University of Kansas. My interests include land use and cover change, climate change, and sustainability science. I particularly like to measure, monitor, and map metrics or indicators of sustainability and resilience in agricultural, forest, grassland, and urban systems. I have experience in remote sensing applications, surface monitoring of carbon, energy and water fluxes, transdisciplinary research and applied systems thinking for climate change mitigation and adaptation.”

Mrs. Bryan: “You have a very wide variety of skills that we can use here on Maui to make our communities better. It seems that your experience will really help our students learn more about how these tools can bring positive change to Maui. Maybe you can explain a bit more how GIS and sustainability linked?”

Dr. Cochran: “First of all, I’m excited to work with students from all different programs at UHMC as well as professionals interested in adding GIS skills to their toolset. GIS is an essential tool for sustainability science, planning and management. We are encouraging our students in the Bachelor’s of Applied Science program in Sustainable Science Management here at UHMC to gain GIS experience. With GIS, students and professionals can conduct applied studies for environmental health assessments, evaluation of scenarios for ecosystem resilience, and land use planning for improved natural resource management here on Maui.”

Mrs. Bryan: “It will be great to get more students involved from multiple disciplines. We have also had huge support from our local GIS industry across the state. Is there anything you would like to tell our GIS Industry community regarding our courses, yourself or UHMC in general?”

Dr. Cochran: “Send us your mapping needs for Maui! Since one of the missions of UHMC is to emphasize community involvement, we would like to engage stakeholders from civil society, industry, and government. We can keep a running list of possible GIS projects, so students can be aware of community needs and potentially interact with real “clients.”

Mrs. Bryan: “Well we are very fortunate to have you here at UHMC and thank you so much for taking on this GIS Certificate program and we wish you all the best!”