Three Concordia students place at geography symposium

Published by Concordia University, Nebraska 7 years ago on Fri, Apr 24, 2015 11:39 AM
Concordia’s Professor of Geography Joel Helmer took students from his classes to the Nebraska GIS/LIS Symposium April 14-16. Back row, from left: Clarisa White, Christine Ruskamp, Alayna Daberkow, Daniel Moore, Zachary Cambier, Justin Damme, Joseph Koenig, Martin Kond, Dr. Joel Helmer and Brandon Wood. Front row, from left: Michaela Gierke, Carson Farr, Taiheem Pleasant and Drew ten Bensel. Not pictured: Brian Maxson.

Three Concordia University, Nebraska students won Student Project Showcase awards at the Nebraska GIS/LIS Symposium, which was hosted by the Nebraska GIS/LIS Association and was held April 14-16 in La Vista, Nebraska. Daniel Moore won first place, Alayna Daberkow earned second place and Justin Damme took third place with their research projects.

“I was not only proud of the quality of the work and how each student prepared and presented their research but also on how they handled themselves professionally,” said Concordia’s Professor of Geography Joel Helmer. “My students put forth a great amount of effort and time on their projects, and this was their opportunity to share and discuss their work with geographic information systems professionals from across Nebraska.”

Moore’s winning project used fuel models, the energy release component, high lightning strike areas and previous fires to identify areas likely to experience potential wildfires in the upper Colorado River areas. Daberkow’s second place project showed spatial variation of ACT scores within Nebraska. Damme’s third place project compared the distribution of food from the Lincoln Community Food Bank with demographic data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Helmer took 14 students in his Introduction to Geographic Information Systems class and Advanced Geographic Information Systems class to the symposium to present original research poster projects. The symposium also included technical geography workshops, breakout sessions, guest speakers and vendors.

According to, “The Association is a non-profit organization comprised of geospatial professionals from the public, private, and academic sectors. … The purpose of the Association is to assist, educate, coordinate and guide the implementation, development and maintenance of GIS (Geographic Information Systems) technology in the State of Nebraska.”

Students who participated in the symposium included (alphabetical order by state, city, last name):

  • Daniel Moore, senior, Fruita, Colo.
  • Joseph Koenig, senior, Orlando, Fla.
  • Michaela Gierke, senior, Billerica, Mass.
  • Christine Ruskamp, senior, Auburn, Neb.
  • Justin Damme, sophomore, Cook, Neb.
  • Clarisa White, junior, Exeter, Neb.
  • Taiheem Pleasant, senior, Lincoln, Neb.
  • Alayna Daberkow, junior, Madison, Neb.
  • Brandon Wood, senior, Polk, Neb.
  • Zach Cambier, senior, Seward, Neb.
  • Carson Farr, senior, Seward, Neb.
  • Martin Kond, junior, Seward, Neb.
  • Brian Maxson, senior, Seward, Neb.
  • Drew ten Bensel, junior, Seward, Neb.