USM grad recognized by NASA program

USM grad recognized by NASA program

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, MS (WLOX) - A 2014 graduate of University of Southern Mississippi was recently recognized by NASA for her participation in the space program's Digital Earth Virtual Environment Learning Outreach Project at the John C. Stennis Space Center in Hancock County.

Jamie Thompson was honored for her work with the project, which is called DEVELOP for short, after spending five terms working on three projects as a team member and on two projects as a team lead.

According to a press release, DEVELOP is a part of NASA's Applied Sciences Program and addresses environmental and public policy issues through interdisciplinary research projects, applying the lens of NASA Earth Observations to community concerns around the globe. Bridging the gap between NASA Earth Science and society, DEVELOP builds capacity in both participants and partner organizations to better prepare them to address the challenges that face society and future generations.

"The experience I had with DEVELOP has been absolutely wonderful. I made some lifelong friends in the program and learned more than I could ever write about," said Thompson in a press release. "Every project in DEVELOP is a team project, so I learned a lot about working with a team to solve difficult problems. Since I was fortunate enough to lead a couple of projects, I also learned how to lead and guide my teams in these efforts."

Thompson, who received a bachelor's degree in computer science, currently works as an application developer for GEO Jobe GIS Consulting where she builds web-mapping software for users of the geographic information system. She credits Southern Miss and DEVELOP in preparing her for her present position. 

"I had no GIS experience prior to DEVELOP, so I learned all of my GIS skills there. With the computer science skills I gained from USM and the GIS skills I learned during my time with DEVELOP, I feel confident with my current job," she said in a press release. "I couldn't think of a better way to combine the two skills."

Thompson also recently became a member of the Southern Miss Industry Advisory Board for the School of Computing. In this role, she acts as an industry representative, providing feedback to the computer science program to help the department better meet the needs of local companies that hire USM graduates.

Tom Rishel, Southern Miss instructor of computer science, said Thompson was an excellent student who was always well-organized and dependable. He also stated how creative she was, using cat-themed graphics in her presentations that were not only entertaining, but exuded her personality, as well.

"I am very proud of Jamie and the work that she has done since graduating from our program. She always approached assignments and projects with a positive attitude and a spirit of personal investment," Rishel said in a press release. "The DEVELOP program certainly helped her to develop the skills to acquire and excel in her current position."

In the future, Thompson hopes to develop software for a major company or create video games, which she says is her passion.

In regard to her future goals, Thompson hopes to develop software for a major company or create video games, which she says is her passion.

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