23 Young Geospatial Professionals to Watch in 2023 – 21 of 23
Name: Sara Thompson
Company: Arizona Department of Transportation
Current position: Geospatial Analysis Section Manager
Education: BS in Conservation Biology and Ecology, Arizona State University; Certificate, GIS and Cartography, Arizona State University
Thompson is a geospatial leader making a difference for young professionals across multiple organizations by creating and promoting opportunities for growth and development. In October 2021, she was selected to serve a three-year term as a member of URISA’s Vanguard Cabinet, an advisory board of passionate young professionals focused on engaging with young geospatial professionals, increasing their involvement in the industry and organization, and providing them with opportunities to develop their personal, professional, and leadership skills.
As a member of the cabinet, she helps to promote activities for young professionals to get involved, such as the annual URISA digital competition to showcase student projects, as well as the volunteer opportunities available to students at the URISA GIS Pro conference. She developed a weekly shout out campaign to help increase visibility of the contributions and accomplishments of various young geospatial professionals across the globe and has helped to put them “On the Map.”
At the beginning of her second year on the cabinet, she was selected to serve as the vice chair and helps to oversee the cabinet operations, supporting each of the subcommittees with their activities and goals and serving as an advocate for young professionals across URISA.
In addition to URISA, Thompson is an active member of the Arizona Geographic Information Council and Arizona Women in GIS and works with both to promote the involvement of young professionals and women in the field of GIS across the state. She has shared her perspective and experience in multiple panel discussions, providing inspiration to other young professionals.