Student Spotlight with Kellam Bartley

Kellam Bartley is an FAU alumna who graduated in Spring 2020 with their B.A. in Geography. Since November 2019, Kellam has been a Geographer with the South Florida Water Management District in West Palm Beach, FL.

Tell us about your position.

Everyday responsibilities are mainly digitizing permit boundaries for incoming water use applications and right-of-way use permits, but the fun part of my job is making maps because every map is different, so I get to make a lot of decisions about composition, data representation, and information presentation. SFWMD is a large organization with many departments, and I get to make maps for all of them, showing a wide range of themes, from land use/land cover and parcel ownership to District project locations, snail kite habitats, and water quality monitoring.

How did FAU help prepare you for this role?

FAU's GIS curriculum included lots of practical cartography and GIS software activities that gave me confidence in my ability to use ArcMap for geoprocessing and mapping.

What did you enjoy most about FAU?

Although many of my classes were online, I am glad I attended campus and got involved with RUF as well as making friends with classmates before and after lectures. Besides making studies more fun, it was great for my stress levels, having people to relate to about school life and bounce ideas off of.

What tips would you give to current students in the College of Science looking to pursue a career in your field?

Just let your interest show. Pay attention and engage in your lessons. Go to office hours. Stay 5 minutes after class to discuss the implications of what you learned. Make casual conversation about it with everyone you meet. Be that guy. Ask around constantly about internships, research opportunities, relevant clubs and activities, and seminars. Wander the halls reading the research posters, and be inspired by them. Just be enthusiastic about your field!