Wei Dang is a water resource engineer at ISWS, involved in the water supply planning project. She recently answered some questions about her work.
Tell us a little bit about yourself, your background, and your role at PRI!
I earned my Master of Geographic Information Science (GIS) from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2022. Following graduation, I joined PRI as a water resource engineer and became a member of ISWS. Presently, I am actively involved in the water supply planning project. My primary responsibilities revolve around utilizing GIS methodologies to present water resource data and information on surface water in a visually intuitive and accessible manner. I also work on the geospatial analyses of water resources systems, aiming to streamline water resources planning and management. Additionally, I am working on developing web apps to disseminate this information effectively.
What drew you to the scientific field?
One of the most compelling aspects of GIS is that it provides a unique lens to explore, analyze, and interpret geographical data, allowing me to craft meaningful visualizations and derive valuable insights. The capacity of GIS technology to use maps for understanding the intricacies of our world, addressing real-world challenges, and facilitating informed decision-making has been the driving force behind my choice of GIS as a potent tool for scientific exploration and effective problem-solving.
What are some challenges you’ve faced in your career, your program (GIS or remote sensing related), and your current project?
While GIS is a versatile tool applicable across a wide range of disciplines, my professional focus has honed in on the specialized application of GIS in water resources. Transitioning from a broad exploration of GIS in academia to a more concentrated role in my current position, the chief challenge lies in delving deeper into hydrological disciplines. My goal is to enhance my expertise in this field and optimize the efficacy of GIS specifically for hydrological applications. This shift towards a more focused and in-depth understanding represents an intriguing professional challenge that I am actively working to overcome in order to contribute meaningfully to the field of hydrology.
What has been the most enjoyable part of your current or a past job(s)?
The most enjoyable part of my work is seeing the successful publication of web apps and observing their widespread use by a diverse audience. This experience is fulfilling and immensely rewarding for me, knowing that the tools I have contributed to are making a meaningful impact and serving the needs of citizens and industries in our state and beyond.
What advice would you give to those just starting out?
For those who are just starting out, my recommendation would be to establish a solid foundation in their selected field and stay abreast of the latest technological developments in the field. Actively engage in multidisciplinary collaborations to broaden your perspective, gain a comprehensive understanding of the challenges within your chosen discipline. This will not only enhance your skill set but also provide valuable insights into the future direction of the field.