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Student Association of Spatial Scientists (SASS)

SASS is an organization that focuses on advancing the knowledge of SFA students who are interested in spatial science. Its goal is to promote awareness of the academic program of spatial science at Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture and its related technologies and career opportunities. The organization also offers social activities and events that provide opportunities for the members to gain leadership skills and professional development. SASS welcomes students from all disciplines across campus. The organization invites guest speakers from a variety of professions to inform the students current status of spatial technologies and provide advices for their future careers. Members are also available to assist students with GIS tasks and provide tips and tricks on software applications. Trips to off-campus meetings are also arranged so that the members have opportunities to interact with professionals in the spatial science field. Spatial Science students are encouraged to get involved with SASS and make it home at SFA.

SASS members meet regularly on Thursdays at 5:30PM, every other week in room 205 of the Forestry building.


Spring 2023 Calendar

  • January 26 SASS Welcome Back Meeting
  • February 9 SASS Meeting: Drone Demo by Tori Williams
  • February 23 SASS Meeting: Guest Presentation by Chris Fischer
  • March 16 SASS Meeting: : Presentation by Luke Whitenburg
  • March 30 SASS Meeting
  • April 13 SASS Meeting
  • April 27: Drone Day
  • April 28 End of Semester Social

View Video

Excerpt from 2014 Newsletter of Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture

SASS Officers

Damian Santaclara
Senior in Geospatial Science
Email: santaclad@jacks.sfasu.edu
Vice President
Jordan Wright
Senior in Geospatial Science
Email: wrightjk@jacks.sfasu.edu
Garrison Layne
Senior in Environmental Science
Email: laynegd@jacks.sfasu.edu
Dayton Hamilton
Senior in Geospatial Science
Email: hamiltonds2@jacks.sfasu.edu

Internship Stories

City of Nacogdoches Internship Reflection. August 12, 2019. Did working for the City of Nacogdoches give me valuable experience that will help me with my future career? Working with the city in the Planning and Zoning Department gave me a lot of valuable experience that I can carry with me throughout my career. I learned many useful skills during my time with the City of Nacogdoches, skills of which refined those already existing and those that have given me a new skillset. During my time with the city, I conducted many projects to help with P and Z meetings, city plans, animal control, and various city decisions. These projects include North Street Beatification project, Zoning Percentage project, Homelessness project, and Animal Control projects. The North Street Beatification Project was conducted to convince the city to make improvements on North Street to make it more appealing. To help with this, I was required to create a map of North Street showing the category of each building. After conducting this project, the city decided to conduct the same type of project for South Street. This means that the city is on board with this project to make improvements to both streets. The Zoning Percentage project was created to show the land percentage of each zoning district within the city limits. The Homelessness Project was conducted to show the number of homeless citizens in Nacogdoches and compare that to the rest of Texas and the United States. And last, the Animal Control project was conducted to create a report on the animal shelter to justify spending. To create this report, I made a visit to the animal shelter to gather data on day-to-day activities. All these projects gave me real work experience, teaching me how to meet deadlines and how to conduct projects of this type in the workplace. In conclusion, I really enjoyed my time with the City of Nacogdoches Planning and Zoning Department. The time I spent working with the staff there gave me a lot of useful experience to help me in my career. I was given plenty of opportunities to grow my skills and experiences and it taught me how to conduct myself in the professional world.
Here is my internship experience I'd like to share with you.
Halff Associates Internship Story. 8/31/2019. I first heard about Halff Associates when I was looking for summer job at a survey firm my first summer of college. I wanted to get experience working for a firm so hopefully when I graduated I could either work at the firm that initially hired me or have enough experience to get hired at a different firm. I was browsing on “Indeed.com” and I saw that a Half Associates office in Fort Worth was looking for a new rodman to help with the influx of construction projects. I applied for the job and was hired on that summer. They have been gracious to me by allowing me to work seasonally whenever I was not in college at SFA. Since that summer in 2017, I have had the opportunity to work with GPS units, a total station, perform construction staking, practice utilizing level loops, and traverses. This most recent summer, I was moved into the office to work as a survey technician to get experience working with AutoCAD and Carlson survey software. I have worked for Halff for about two years and after I graduate, I will work for them full-time as a survey technician and they will even assist me to get my SIT certification. For future students reading this article, you need to get experience before you graduate school. That way you can negotiate your starting salary and benefits. When you have experience in your field, it shows your future employer that you did not wait around all summer and that you have a great work ethic. So instead of getting a job just anywhere, try to find an internship, even if it’s not paid, because later down the road that experience you’ve gained will help you get a job in your profession.
Working with Swain and Baldwin in Lufkin, Texas has provided numerous advantages to me as a student seeking to soon join the business world as a professional in the field of spatial science. Swain and Baldwin, Inc. is an insurance and risk management corporation. The company provides insurance services, including coverages in areas such as commercial property, workers compensation, hospitality, manufacturing and trucking. The company has been so successful that much of the profits realized have been diversified as investments into real estate and timberland properties located in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Colorado. These properties are where the need for GIS has come into fruition with the organization. GIS has been utilized in order to develop maps for timber stand management, controlled burns, cover change detection, land acquisitions, land sales, and to evaluate the growth trends for particular areas. The projects that I have participated in while working with Swain and Baldwin have presented numerous opportunities for me to apply the principles and tools of GIS to solve specific problems. It has been my pleasure and I am honored to have been relied upon for the needs of providing those elements of analysis. Swain and Baldwin has obviously effectively established their organization among the upper tier of insurance companies, in addition to growing as a real estate investment and holding corporation. The one recommendation that I have for the company is to consider additional GIS for insurance options that are available with ESRI software, which could enable them to utilize GIS in the insurance arm of the company as well. Incorporating GIS into the insurance sector of Swain and Baldwin could host a variety of unseen benefits to the firm that may otherwise not be achievable without its use. I encourage any students of spatial science that may have interest in being an intern with an organization such as Swain and Baldwin to diligently pursue the opportunity. The experience can result in improving yourself at a professional level with an increase in business knowledge, and situations where GIS is reinforced as the mechanism to provide solutions to real world problems.
I assisted the Redland Water Supply Corporation, a nonprofit organization serving approximately 1,300 customers in a rural community within Angelina County, in building their first GIS database hosting their existing water supply features. Starting from scratch, I worked with their staff from equipment acquisition, software installation, to a full scale mobile GIS operation. The hardware and software used for this project included a desktop computer with ArcGIS for Desktop and Trimble Positions Suite and a Trimble Juno 3B GPS handheld with ArcPad. At the end, a total of 1,425 water service features were collected including 1,151 meters (962 active, 89 inactive, and 99 pulled), 175 valves, 68 flush valves, and 28 hydrants. They are now stored in their GIS database and eventually will be integrated into their relational database management system. Through this opportunity, I have learned about new software, hardware, and field work in the water industry. I learned about the difficulties of setting up software and have a new appreciation for the computers I have the privilege to use at the computer lab of Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture. I furthered my knowledge and experience with ArcPad and Trimble Extensions. I also gained knowledge about water features and the water industry. Overall it was a good challenging experience that I would recommend to other students that want to take their GIS skills a step further and gain real-world experience.
During the summer of 2014 I had the opportunity to intern for Landmark – Halliburton in Houston, Texas. During my internship, I teamed up with a fellow GIS intern to complete a geoprocessing plug-in for exploration software. I used Python to develop the tool set in the ArcMap environment, and handled for it to function cross platform. To ensure that the implementation into their exploration software would go smoothly, I provided documentation and completed pretests of the toolset. This summer project was very challenging and the completion within itself was an accomplishment. The overall goal of the intern program was to have one of the top three presentations, of which my project partner and I achieved. We were given the unique opportunity to present at the Summer Intern Showcase between the Landmark and Technology product service lines of Halliburton. At the showcase, the six best presentations out of 120 were exhibited to fellow interns and company executives. Becoming a showcase finalist made my long term goal of being successful attainable, and only magnified my passion for this field of work.
This past summer I had the opportunity of working with Harris County Information Technology Center in the Precinct 4 Sherriff’s Department. In the duration of my internship, I was given the task of topology editing, readdressing, and using my best judgment to correct contract boundary lines using information from the Harris County Appraisal District, but most importantly building models through ArcMap Model Builder. From my internship, I learned the importance of bureaucracy and the challenges it also created when attempting to improve the contract boundaries in order to create a more organized and easier to read map. Challenges from working with Harris County were learning the terminology for the various software systems that were integrated together in order to later be used in the patrol vehicles and the 911 system. One of my more enjoyable moments of the summer was creating a model using Model Builder to simplify tedious task that were done in order to update the system with the changes we made to the contract boundaries every other week. My model was later published in the Harris County database and will continue to be used in order to reduce the workload of updating the 911 system. Although nervous in the beginning, as I began to understand the terminology and bureaucracy I gained more confidence at the increasingly challenging task dedicated to myself. Advice I would give to other students who are interested in internships or careers in this field would be to have patience with the levels of bureaucracy and most importantly to ask questions in times of doubt in order to complete task to the best of your ability.
Sara Brown
City of Nacogdoches
Nacogdoches, Texas
Summer 2019
Read my story
Your Name
Somewhere Exciting
Season of the Year
Read my story
Keaton Ford
Halff Associates
Fort Worth, Texas
Summer 2019
Read my story
Bryce Rutledge
City of San Marcos GIS
San Marcos, Texas
Summer 2019
Read my story
Emily Lozano
911 Addressing and GIS Mapping
Nacogdoches County, Texas
Summer 2018
Read my story
Brad Henley
Swain and Baldwin, Lufkin, Texas
Spring 2016
Read my story
Maggie O'Neil
911 Addressing and GIS Mapping
Nacogdoches County, Texas
Fall 2015
Read my story
Matt Neville
Redland Water Supply
Angelina County, Texas
Spring 2015
Read my story
Maggie O'Neil
Landmark-Halliburton, Houston, Texas
Summer 2014
Read my story
Samantha Alaniz
Harris County, Texas
Information Technology Center
Summer 2014
Read my story

SASS Archive

Fall 2022 Calendar

Spring 2022 Calendar

Fall 2021 Calendar

Spring 2021 Calendar

Fall 2020 Calendar

Spring 2020 Calendar

Fall 2019 Calendar

Spring 2019 Calendar

Fall 2018 Calendar

Spring 2018 Calendar

Fall 2017 Calendar

Spring 2017 Calendar

Fall 2016 Calendar

Spring 2016 Calendar

Fall 2015 Calendar

Spring 2015 Calendar

Fall 2014 Calendar