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Vanguard Cabinet of Young GIS Professionals

URISA's young professional members have taken the association by storm!

From managing a mentoring program and supporting student competitions to serving as committee leaders and conference chairs, and even being elected to the URISA Board of Directors, these professionals  are the NextGen GIS leaders, providing valuable direction and enthusiasm to the community.

The Vanguard Cabinet (VC), a URISA initiative, is an advisory board made up of passionate, young* geospatial professionals who strive to engage young practitioners, increase their numbers in the organization, and better understand the concerns facing these future leaders of the geospatial community. The VC's mission is to collaborate with URISA’s Board of Directors and URISA committees in creating and promoting programs and policies of benefit to young professionals and to enhance overall innovation, collaboration, networking, and professional development opportunities.

* 35 years of age or younger

Meet the newest members of the URISA Vanguard Cabinet

Just Announced: Alex Lopez-Rogina and Christina Brunsvold Named 2020 YPs of the Year

Announcing the Coalition of Young Professionals

Read January 4, 2021 Press Release

Announcing the URISA Mentoring Network

The URISA Mentoring Network seeks to foster mutually beneficial relationships between Young Professionals (YPs) and seasoned veterans in the field.  


  • an experienced and trusted adviser:synonyms adviser, guide, confidant, confidantecounselor, ...


  • advise or train (someone, especially a younger colleague): "both trainees were expertly mentored by a site supervisor"

Learn more and sign up today

Meet the 2021 Vanguard Cabinet 

Click below to launch the Vanguard Cabinet Story Map:

  • 2021 Vanguard Cabinet Chair: Haley Zehentbauer
  • 2020 Vanguard Cabinet Secretary: Shivon Van Allen

Student Webinar Series

Calgary Traffic Incidents Operation Reporting and Dashboard Case Study - January, 2021

Renso Ronquillo, a Spatial Information Analyst for the Government of British Columbia, will present his research on traffic incidents and operational reporting in Calgary, Alberta. GIS plays an important role in the transportation sector for decision making, asset management, and construction. This research showcases the application of GIS in emergency response and transportation. The webinar presents the process of transforming a traffic incident spreadsheet report found in the City of Calgary open data portal into an effective GIS application and data capture workflow using Esri Mobile and Web applications. 

This webinar is the second in a series featuring the 2020 University Student and Young Professional Digital Competition finalists. 

Moderator: Xan Fredericks, GISP, US Geological Survey, St Petersburg, Florida

Presenter: Renso Ronquillo, Spatial Information Analyst, Government of British Columbia

Co-hosted by URISA’s Vanguard Cabinet and Professional Education Committee

Renso Ronquillo is a Spatial Information Analyst on the Business Innovation and Emergency Response (BIER) Team at the Government of British Columbia. His experience focuses on integrating GIS to provincial government and transportation. Recently, his work focuses on modernizing emergency response in the Transportation sector.


A Look at Teenage Pregnancy Cases in Kenya - October, 2020

Joy Christine Nduta Kimani, a university student at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Kenya, will present her research on adolescent pregnancies in Kenya. Her research explores the impacts of teen pregnancies on the health of the mothers and offers strategies for reducing teen pregnancies. Tableau is utilized to share the story of teen pregnancies in Kenya via data visualizations.

This webinar is the first in a series featuring the 2020 University Student and Young Professional Digital Competition finalists. 

Moderator: Xan Fredericks, GISP - US Geological Survey, St Petersburg, Florida


  • Joy Christine Nduta Kimani, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya
  • May Yariwo Kitiyo, Women in GIS Kenya

Co-hosted by URISA’s Vanguard Cabinet and Professional Education Committee

Meet the Speakers

Currently, Joy Christine Nduta Kimani is a Geomatic engineering student at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology where she is working to better her skills in spatial data analysis, remote sensing, surveying and mapping.  She is familiar with various software such as ArcGIS Online, Tableau and ERDAS IMAGINE among others.  She has also sharpened her skills in software development having attended a 5 month coding bootcamp recently. She’s also a finalist of the URISA Student and Young professional digital completion 2020 that was held in August. Joy also enjoys travelling and exploring other places in the world through maps.

Yariwo Kitiyo is a leading specialist in GIS in Kenya and an expert in spatial data science with over 5 years’ experience in both implementing enterprise and capacity development. She is cofounder and lead strategist at Women in GIS Kenya and has been featured in the Top 6 under 30 Women Breaking Barriers  n STEM by Mawazo Institute and the Einstein Forum for her application of Science, Technology and Innovation for socio-economic development.



Podcasts: DirectionsMag has partnered with URISA's Vanguard Cabinet to bring you a collection of podcasts and resources to enhance your professional development.  Check out the ever-expanding list of podcasts here

Alex Lopez-Rogina and Christina Brunsvold Named 2020 Young Professionals of the Year

Rachel Rodriguez Announced as 2019 Young Professional of the Year

Meet the 2019-2020 URISA Vanguard Cabinet

Announcing the 2018 Young Professional of the Year, Tory Elmore

Meet the 2018-2019 URISA Vanguard Cabinet

Meet the 2017-2018 Vanguard Cabinet

Join URISA as a Young Professional - discounted membership dues rate!

“As a young professional, URISA's GIS-Pro allowed me to network with a variety of professionals in my field as well as creating opportunities for me to volunteer, present, and get involved in ways I couldn't have imagined. I would not be where I'm at, in my career, without GIS-Pro and the URISA community!”

- Kari Leer, Valparaiso, Indiana (Vanguard Cabinet, 2014-15)

URISA Young Professional of the Year:

  • 2020: Alex Lopez-Rogina, GISP & Christina Brunsvold
  • 2019: Rachel Rodriguez, GISP
  • 2018: Tory Elmore
  • 2017: Kara Utter
  • 2016: Daniel Behnke, GISP
  • 2015: Kari Chael
  • 2014: Wendy Peloquin, GISP
  • 2013: Ryan Bowe, GISP
  • 2012: Diana Rodriguez
  • 2011: Ashley Hitt, GISP

Contact: urisa.vc@gmail.com   Follow us: @URISAVC

Current Initiatives:


"The expertise my mentor shared with me through the URISA mentoring program played a significant role in my career path. I gained beneficial information about the field I was entering into and because of the support from my mentor, I was exceptionally prepared for an interview. I would recommend this program, without a doubt, to anyone looking to gain some insight into a new industry or for help just out of college." - Sarah Love-Martin, Geospatial Analyst, Spatial Data Integrations, Inc., St Louis, Missouri


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