First GIS graduate reflects on TROY experience

In 2020, Yitong Wu became TROY's first graduate in geographic information sciences (GIS).

In 2020, Yitong Wu became TROY's first graduate in geographic information sciences (GIS).

Yitong Wu, an international student from Dalian, China, was the first student to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Geographic Information Sciences (GIS) at Troy University.

Wu was a student in the Surveying and Geomatics Sciences program and was the first to change her major to GIS once the program became available.

Wu knew she wanted to pursue GIS in high school.

Her mother is a practitioner of the Imagery and Mapping Agency and her high school geography teacher had a similar degree in GIS.

Wu considers herself lucky because her Chinese high school prohibited her from taking geography classes and choosing GIS as her college major.

“My geography score was the best in the first year of high school, but later I chose science when I was in the class of arts and science,” Wu said. “I could not study geography according to the rules of Chinese high school.

“When I was in the college entrance examination, I applied for this major and was lucky to be admitted to this major, which is very rare in the college entrance examination in China because most people cannot choose their own major.”

Upon her freshman year, Wu chose TROY not only because of its international cooperative program, but because of its similarity to her own university.

“I like the climate of Troy very much, which is very similar to Chengdu, where my university is located in China,” Wu said. “I like everything here except for the food.

“The pace of life here is very comfortable, everyone is polite and I think it is a wonderful place to live. I like to watch all kinds of sports, especially football and women’s volleyball.”

Wu chose TROY out of 121 other international universities that offered similar studies in GIS.

At TROY, Wu won the 2019-2020 Chancellor’s Award for her project “Augmented and Virtual Reality Utilization to Support Geospatial Learning.”

The project was the construction of a virtual reality sandbox, which can be used in a range of different classroom settings.

Yitong Wu studies on a computer

Wu was also the recipient of the 2018-2019 Troy University Marshall A. McLeod Geomatics Foundation Scholarship, and the 2019 Troy University Elbert A. Botts Endowment.

Wu wants to thank Dr. Steve Ramroop and Dr. Bill Hazelton.

“I not only learned a lot of knowledge in [Ramroop’s] classes, but also began to have my own method of time planning,” Wu said. “I sincerely think he is a very excellent teacher, and I am very grateful and admire him.

“Dr. Hazelton is very patient, but also taught me a lot of life philosophy.”

Wu expressed the most gratitude to Dr. Xutong Niu.

“He helped me so much that I don’t know where to begin to say,” Wu said. “I consider it is my luck to be his student.”

Wu also expressed her gratitude to her classmates Luke, Andrew, Jack, Anthony and Carter, and secretary Denise Matthes.

“No teacher or staff has attached great importance to me and treated me so well like you all,” Wu concluded. “Thank you all.”

Wu received her diploma in the spring of 2020. She is now pursuing a Master of Science in Applied Geoscience from the University of Hong Kong in China.