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What is a Surveyor?

Monday, May 14, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Chris Jenson
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“What is a surveyor?” So, the question began almost every conversation at the Woodson High School career fair. The Fairfax high school students would see the simply marked “Surveyor” sign on my table and without fail ask the question. I have to admit, I hadn’t given much thought as to what would be the question foremost on a high school student’s mind when I accepted the invitation to participate in the career fair, but this one definitely made sense.

The competition for the student’s attention was difficult with the SWAT team with their dog and the computer cyber-security table. Not to mention I had about a 10 second window to give an answer before they drifted off (sometimes mentally with the glossy eyes, sometimes physically when they simply said “Uh huh” and walked away). Luckily, we had great banners, provided by the Western Chapter of the Virginia Association of Surveyors, that were excellent attention getters. We also had a robotic instrument and GPS setup on display.

We had about thirty students stop by the table. Overall it was a great experience and I look forward to accepting an invitation again next year. I will suggest they put “Land Surveyor” on the sign (I got couple of questions about going door-to-door and “surveying” people). I spoke with one guidance counselor, who thought we were a great career for her “tweeners”- Those who weren’t sure about college, but wanted to work in a profession with expanding technologies and the opportunity for more education, should they desire to do so.

But back to the question that started it all: What is a surveyor? I thought of the great advice Matt Mosteller, from the Western Chapter of the Virginia Association of Surveyors (and a career fair veteran presenter), had given me: Showcase the technology side and try not to scare them off with math (sure we need it, but you don’t have to be Einstein to do this work either he said). I thought about the nice handouts the VAS staff had given me using the wonderful resources provided by NSPS. I thought about the great career and life that the surveying profession has provided me; the experiences I’ve had personally and professionally; and how, like most surveyors, I didn’t choose this career, but couldn’t think of much else I would rather be doing. I thought of the people I’ve met and the fantastic camaraderie of surveyors.

So how did I answer the question “What is a surveyor” you might ask? Better yet - How would YOU answer the question?

Chris Jensen

VAS Region I Director