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Sections: topographic map from 1891 and a close-up of a Thomas Benton painting

Alumni Stories: Kyle Gilmer '18

Question: What made the ODU Department of Political Science and Geography a special place for your undergraduate study?

Answer: Attending ODU made me realize that my passion was different from what I planned on studying at the beginning. It took several semesters to find where I fit, and the Department of Political Science and Geography was the perfect fit. One of the main reasons why this department was a special place for me is they offer an excellent and competitive GIS certificate program that no other department or college in the Hampton Roads region offers. I was able to go from graduating in 5+ years to graduating in 2+ years with this department and landed my dream job before graduating.

Question: How did the department/ODU provide the necessary academic programs and resources to help you follow your passions to find dream careers?

Answer: The Department of Political Science and Geography Professors were always willing to meet with you during their office hours for any questions, concerns, or help. On top of that, having most of my classes being catered toward GIS, there was always opportunities to attend labs outside of normal scheduled classes with a lab instructor there to help you with the projects.

Question: What were your experiences with course study?

Answer: One thing I did not realize about ODU is the student to teacher ratio. Most of your classes are smaller, giving the chance for the professor to engage with you more and able to ask more questions and study harder. I took a lot of labs and research orientated courses, which allowed me to engage more with the professors and the resources available on campus to do well.

Question: What were your experiences with day-to-day campus life?

Answer: I unfortunately did not live on campus (I was a commuter), but with my little day-to-day campus life I enjoyed it very much. There were always activities going on, events, things to do, see, etc. I was always trying to find a place to study that was quiet, had electrical outlets, and food nearby and that is almost everywhere on campus. Because I never had to go on the side of campus where the dorms were located, getting to my classes and study areas was quick and easy.

Question: What was your most memorable semester?

Answer: My most memorable semester was my last semester before graduating. Knowing that it is your last semester at ODU was bittersweet. I was so excited for that semester to come, yet I didn't want it to end. The semester consisted of heavy interesting research, senior proposals, ordering graduation gowns, and senior pictures. Wrapping up the last few classes to complete my degree and GIS certificate will always have a special place in my memory.

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