Students looking to pursue a career in Surveying and Mapping may find themselves on this very campus in order to do so. TJC, in partnership with University of Texas at Tyler, is one of only two schools in Texas to offer the program and has been preparing young minds with the tools they need to be successful in this field since 1955.”The thing I enjoy most about teaching, and I have taught in this program for 24 years, is helping a young person set goals and attain them,” said Surveying and Mapping professor Patti Williams. “A student may come in with talent but few expectations of having a career, and before we are finished, they are focused and are ticking off the steps to becoming a professional land surveyor.”Surveying requires the combination of math, art and science. The job of a surveyor is to establish boundaries in land, air and water of all angles above and below the Earth’s surface. A surveyor’s job also mandates they write descriptions of land for different legal documents as well as for deeds and leases. They must also determine measurements for mineral sites, construction and how much airspace is needed for airports. Information they collect is typically in regards to the border, location, elevation, dimension and even shape of the land or land features. They also research legal records that give them information on previous boundaries, which helps when it comes to creating new boundary lines. Some even get to dig wells in the middle of the ocean. Surveying exposes students to different surroundings, which is a very appealing trait to many beginning students. “I really like the versatility,” said Tanner Rutledge, freshman surveying student. “You get to be inside and outside, and I love being outdoors.” Students often do labs and get measurements in the front lawn of Jenkins Hall. Labs, which take up about one-third of the class, are usually popular among students. The chance to get out of the classroom and into the real world is an automatic- see Surveying page 8 –
advantage most students see when looking into this profession. Incoming students complete the Surveying and mapping two-year curriculum at TJC, then transfer to UT Tyler to receive a four-year Surveying degree. Many students, however, come into the program having already acquired a bachelor’s degree; the only requirement for these students is that they obtain 32 credit hours in order to receive a Certificate of Proficiency from TJC. A student who completes all four years has the ability to become a licensed professional land surveyor, or they can stop after two years and get a job working for one. Some students mistakenly think it is an easy program, or that it strictly is a man’s job. Some think that it is all about being physical and that most of the time is spent outdoors or in the field. “Most see a survey crew out collecting measurements for mapping and think ‘Ah! That’s what a surveyor does.’ It is a great deal of fun, and it is just as hard to keep our female students in front of the computer as it is for us to keep the males there on a beautiful day in April or November,” said Williams.Another common misconception is the amount of math that is required. The ability to excel in math is a definite trait that students should possess. “You cannot be afraid of math,” Williams said. Surveying is engineering application mathematics, and the mathematical models created are used for the engineering projects. Regardless of the demanding course work required for a degree in Surveying and Mapping, students find it to be a very enjoyable employment option. Rutledge had the best of both worlds, because not only did he love the aspects of surveying, it was something that he had been familiar with from a young age. “My dad has a surveying company, and I’ve been working for him for about five years.” Rutledge says. He plans to have a very long future in Surveying and Mapping Technology. Not only is the program enjoyable for the students, but the advisers also love what they do. “It’s a really neat group of students,” said Adviser Stephanie Rigdeon-Arriola. “They all know what their ending goal is, so they don’t waste a lot of time to achieve it.” The Surveying and Mapping Technology Program at Tyler Junior College is always opening its doors to aspiring minds. A summer camp is held free of charge every year that enables young students to come and learn the ropes of the program. Meals and lodging are also provided with the program. This summer will be the 12th year in operation.