Nick Gilroy '14, Geospatial Data Scientist
BS Geography - Environmental Sustainability
How did your Salem State experience affect your life and career?
I never expected to be where I am today, but my decision to get a degree from Salem State forever changed my life.
After taking a year off from school, my idea of a potential career was intangible. I applied to Salem State and became a part of the honors program. My fours years at Salem State were unique because I shared the experience with my best friend and now fiancée. We supported and challenged one another, building off of each other’s successes.
However, it was my professors who taught me to plan for the future and who instilled the confidence to attend graduate school at the University of Denver (DU). The connections I made during my time at DU opened the doors to my current position at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, CO as a Geospatial Data Scientist. It has been my pleasure to stay in contact with my Salem State and DU professors, and we have even been able to meet up at professional conferences across the country.
I am here today because I chose to attend Salem State, to be present, to immerse myself in my coursework and discover a passion and for that, I’m forever grateful.
Why would you recommend Salem State to others?
Salem State has a wide breadth of academic choices – from sciences to business to the arts, music, theatre and more, plus programs allow for flexibility to explore other departments.
- Departments are small and allow you to make many lasting connections, yet the University is large enough to feel like you’re a part of something bigger.
- Study Abroad programs are robust and simple to navigate – this significantly influenced my decision to attend as well as enriched my experience.
- Top-notch professors who are passionate about their field and students’ success.
- Support when moving forward post graduation.
- Small town feel with connections to the city of Boston and more.
- Something for everyone – dorm life, commuters, graduate students, young, old, part-time, full-time, Salem State is a great choice for anyone.
What was your academic experience like?
One of the greatest strengths of the academic life at Salem State is the ratio of students to professors. The small classes allowed for greater feedback from the professors, and allow for increased student engagement. For me, this environment was a key to my success, because I often tend not to speak out in larger groups. With fewer people per course, I did not feel lost in a sea of students. In turn, the fewer students in a course, the more everyone was able to get to know each other, everyone had a voice.
One the very first courses I took at Salem State was a geology class - Geologic History of The National Parks. After spending the majority of the summer on cross-country road trip exploring many of the National Parks across the U.S., ability this course offered an incredible opportunity to give greater context to the places I visited.
I grew into my geography major, exploring the potential of environmental sustainability and geographic information systems, while still engaging in my creative side in the photography department. I ended my Salem State career with a thesis focused on studying the bicycling activity and bicycle infrastructure in the City of Salem. I carried this idea to graduate school at DU where I developed an iOS application dedicated to collecting volunteered bicycle data. The data collected would allow cities to learn about bicyclists preferred routes allowing municipalities to make decisions informed by geospatial data. The ability to explore and discover my passions early on at Salem State the ability to grow and gain the confidence to be where I am today.