Nova Sco­tia Com­mu­nity Col­lege

Through hard work and re­silience, Jill Ejdry­giewicz had her dream job at her fin­ger­tips

The Coast - Career Minded - - PAID CONTENT -

“O nce you live by the ocean, you will al­ways miss it when you leave.”

Born and raised in Al­berta, Jill Ejdry­giewicz had never heard truer words. Ejdry­giewicz had re­turned west af­ter al­ready liv­ing in Nova Sco­tia dur­ing her Marine Bi­ol­ogy stud­ies at Dal­housie Univer­sity. The thought of mov­ing back to NS felt like home, and so Ejdry­giewicz did her own re­search on pro­grams within the prov­ince and found her pas­sion at NSCC, the Nova Sco­tia Com­mu­nity Col­lege.

The Marine Geo­mat­ics pro­gram sparked her in­ter­ested the most, as it tied into her pre­vi­ous ed­u­ca­tion and re­search ex­pe­ri­ence. She quickly re­al­ized her strengths and pas­sion for map-mak­ing, so she made the de­ci­sion to trans­fer to the Geo­graphic Sciences pro­gram, con­cen­trat­ing in car­tog­ra­phy.

“Look­ing back, it was the best de­ci­sion I could have made. I love map­ping; it’s def­i­nitely my niche,” she says.

Geo­graphic Sciences is a two-year pro­gram of­fered at NSCC’s Cen­tre of Geo­graphic Sciences in Lawrence­town. It al­lows stu­dents to build a solid start­ing foun­da­tion for a ca­reer in geo­graphic sciences and geo­mat­ics. The first year in­tro­duces stu­dents to us­ing geo­mat­ics tools and tech­nol­ogy like GPS and GIS. Stu­dents then branch out into one of four con­cen­tra­tions and be­come spe­cial­ized dur­ing their sec­ond year.

The car­tog­ra­phy pro­gram came with an ex­tremely heavy work­load and long work days, but Ejdry­giewicz says it was worth ev­ery sec­ond.

“A chal­lenge I had was my nat­u­ral at­ten­tion to de­tails and per­fec­tion­ism. That be­ing said, car­tog­ra­phy is just that: a de­tail-ori­ented dis­ci­pline gift­ing beau­ti­ful, artis­tic ren­di­tions of geo­graphic data and maps. As the world con­tin­ues to change, maps will like­wise be chang­ing. In a way, it’s like I get to travel vi­car­i­ously through the maps I de­sign and pro­duce,” she says.

Not only did Ejdry­giewicz feel the weight of the work­load, but along with her di­ag­no­sis of Re­lapse Re­mit­ting Mul­ti­ple Sclero­sis, the days took a toll on her health.

“But I con­tin­u­ously pushed through them and worked harder than ever be­cause I knew school was only tem­po­rary. Walk­ing across the stage at grad­u­a­tion and start­ing a ca­reer that I was pas­sion­ate about was my light at the end of the tun­nel,” she says.

Ejdry­giewicz’s hard work led her to be­gin an in­tern­ship as a Re­search As­sis­tant with NSCC’s Ap­plied Oceans Re­search Group (AORG). She ap­plied her skills in car­tog­ra­phy to de­sign and pro­duce a de­tailed and de­scrip­tive map poster vi­su­al­iz­ing a pro­posed Marine Pro­tected Area (MPA) in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence’s Lau­ren­tian Chan­nel, and as­sists in­dus­try and govern­ment part­ners with her re­search and map­ping skills.

Ejdry­giewicz grad­u­ated as a car­tog­ra­pher, and her great­est re­ward from her hard work was be­ing pre­sented with the Ris­ing Star Award—meant for a stu­dent who em­bod­ies the NSCC alumni tra­di­tion of ex­cel­lence and am­bas­sador­ship.

Ejdry­giewicz whole­heart­edly thanks two of her in­struc­tors, Mon­ica Lloyd and Martha Bost­wick, who were pa­tient, sup­port­ive and over­all in­spi­ra­tional men­tors. “I can only hope to be half as tal­ented at car­tog­ra­phy as they are,” she says.

Mov­ing for­ward, Ejdry­giewicz will be show­cas­ing her ap­plied re­search in­volve­ment in Ot­tawa early Novem­ber, and will be pre­sent­ing about the Cana­dian Healthy Oceans Net­work and MPA map­ping dur­ing the 2018 Geo­mat­ics At­lantic con­fer­ence later that month.

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