Rachel Layko

23 Young Geospatial Professionals to Watch in 2023 – 9 of 23

Name: Rachel Layko
Company: Arizona State University     
Current position: PhD Candidate
Age: 25               

Education: BS in biology; minor in marine science, The College of William & Mary

In the PhD program at Arizona State University, Layko is working to bring her geospatial background and passion for protecting and conserving coastal ecosystems together to identify better ways of managing our critical marine environments, an effort for which she was recently awarded the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.  

Throughout her career, she has found multiple ways to apply geospatial tools and technology to resource management questions and promote the industry with the next generation of geospatial leaders. She serves as a fellow in the Center for Geospatial Analysis at William & Mary, and a Dangermond Fellow with the National Audubon Society. 

In addition to using her expertise to help protect marine environments, Layko spent a lot of time helping organizations like URISA support and create opportunities for young geospatial professionals. She recently completed a three-year term on URISA’s Vanguard Cabinet, an advisory board of passionate young professionals focused on engaging with young geospatial professionals to provide them with opportunities to develop their personal, professional, and leadership skills.  

Layko served as the co-chair for the mentoring committee and was instrumental in setting up URISA’s Mentoring Network, which has paired more than 200 geospatial professionals in more than 20 countries with mentorship and guidance. She helped lay the foundation for this program and developed a sustainable process for matching mentors with mentees based on skills, interests, and backgrounds. This program has been extremely successful and in recognition of her hard work and dedication to the program, she received the URISA Barbara Hirsch Special Service Award at the 2021 GIS Pro Conference.

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