Skip to Main Content Skip to Main Navigation

Give to Lehman

Lehman College

Department of Earth Environmental and Geospatial Sciences

Kristen Grady

Kristen GradyCurrent location

  • Brooklyn, NY, USA

Date of Graduation from Lehman

  • June 2013

Type of degree/major/specialization/certificate

  • MS-GISc

Subsequent degrees earned or in progress

  • “GIS and Design” Certificate, Pratt Institute, Spatial Analysis and Visualization Initiative (SAVI)
  • Fall 2014 - Spring 2015 (expected)

Title of MS-GISc capstone project

“Allocating New York City Election Results to Census Geography Using ModelBuilder and Python Scripting”

Positions held since graduating

  • GIS Specialist, New York City Office of Emergency Management (NYC OEM) (1 year, 5 months)
  • Alumna Board Member, Lehman College MS-GISc Program (1 year)
  • Director-at-Large / Board Member, NACIS (North American Cartographic Information Society) (1 month)

Type of work you do there

NYC OEM

I provide GIS support for OEM’s emergency response, planning operations, and outreach programs, before, during, and after an emergency. About half of my time is spent working for the Public Safety GIS Data Development Center at OEM, which is tasked with developing and providing GIS data sets to NYC’s public safety agencies. The rest of my time is spent working on ad hoc mapping requests for other OEM staff in Logistics, Transportation, Operations, Training and Exercises, and other OEM departments. I also work on various projects that aim to increase GIS’s efficiency during emergencies. One project I’ve enjoyed spending a good deal of time on is updating, redesigning, and rebranding the GIS Department’s mapping templates. I also write Python scripts for ArcMap.

NACIS

I’m currently serving on the “Communications and Outreach” and “Membership Benefits” Board Committees.

Specific accomplishments of which you are most proud

  • Some projects that I worked on, as part of an incredible team at the Center for Urban Research’s CUNY Mapping Service, during my time at Lehman, were picked up by various news outlets and blogs, such as the NY Times, Atlantic Cities, and NY1.
  • Being a student alumna panelist on a NYC ArcUser’s Group panel discussing the GIS Industry’s outlook and which skills current students may want to focus on to make themselves more marketable in a rapidly changing industry.
  • Being offered my job at OEM, one of the coveted NYC City Agency GIS positions.
  • Getting elected to the NACIS Board of Directors!

Geography or GISc activities/accomplishments/awards/internships/publications

  • Working closely with Professor Maantay and Professor Maroko while a research assistant in the Urban GISc Lab at Lehman, where they allowed me to co-author a few publications. Some of the topics included: Data Visualization of Environmental Health Justice and Measuring Access to Parks in NYC.
  • USDA Research Fellowship while at Lehman, in which I became somewhat of a subject matter expert on Food Deserts. This culminated in a really interesting project called “Locating Bronx Food Deserts by creating a Food Desert Vulnerability Index”
  • Several years of hard work at the CUNY Institute of Sustainable Cities paid off with the publication of some of my maps in Mayor Bloomberg’s Hurricane Sandy-inspired special report, “A Stronger, More Resilient New York,” which tackles the resilience of infrastructure and buildings throughout NYC. The maps show the delineation of potential future flood extents due to climate change-induced sea level rise.

Overall assessment of how Lehman’s EEGS Program prepared you for your current life

When I think of my time at Lehman and how it has prepared me for my current career path in GIS and Cartography and for my life in general, I think immediately of two things: critical thinking skills and academic rigor. Often these skills and experiences go undervalued or are invisible to a student altogether when a student’s focus is on acquiring as many technical skills as possible to make herself more job-marketable. But these non-technical skills and experiences are just as essential as the technical skills and have helped me tremendously in my professional and personal life.

While I had excellent training in the technical aspects of GIS at Lehman, a major part of my education there also involved reading and responding to academic journal articles, writing for publication, and learning to think critically about the nuances of GIS and Map-making. I believe these “skills” helped me in securing a professional GIS job because not only was I prepared for the technical aspects of the job, but I proved that I am capable of working and feeling comfortable in those more “fuzzy” areas of the profession, where questions about the ethics of mapmaking, your audience, and the potential message you’re conveying in your work become of utmost importance.  

Comments on the EEGS Dept Program you were enrolled in

The instructors of the EEGS GIS Program are simply outstanding. All of them. I enjoyed and thrived in all of my classes there and miss the vibe and culture of the department often. Everyone is down-to-earth, super smart, and helpful. I would not be where I am today without all of them.

What else have you been up to?

Having taken somewhat of a break in schooling, I’ve managed to find a few new hobbies, my favorite being indoor rock climbing! Otherwise, just continuing to focus on my career, on learning new things, specifically fun new ways of mapmaking, attending more Meetups (Maptime is a great one, if you get the chance), and trying to spend more time with friends and family.