Professional Statement

My name is Michael Koch and I am currently a senior at Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. I am majoring in Computer Information Science with a minor in Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing (GIS/Remote Sensing).

I received an Associates in Science degree in General Education from College of the Albemarle in 1995 and proceeded to work in the drafting/design field until 2009. I returned to further my education in the fall of 2009 and completed course work toward my Computer Information Technology degree. I graduated with an Associate in Science degree in Computer Information Technology from College of the Albemarle in May of 2011. In addition to my degree I also received a Database certification and completed an internship with the city of Elizabeth City GIS/Planning Department as part of my studies at COA. I truly enjoy working in the Geographic Information Systems field as it closely aligns with my background in drafting and design. What started out as an effort to enhance my resume and job skill set has turned into a passionate pursuit of furthering my education to be the best that I can be in the fields of GIS/Remote Sensing and Computer Science.

In the fall of 2010, I was accepted into the Center of Excellence for Remote Sensing Education and Research (CERSER) scholarship program at ECSU. The program is under the leadership of Dr. Linda B. Hayden and provides students with undergraduate research experience, educational support, and assistance with obtaining internship experiences. CERSER has afforded me the opportunity for professional development and scientific research experiences. I have learned to use Linux and Mac OS as well as software programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Dreamweaver. I have completed training in Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation devices as well as conducted GPS workshops.

During my sophomore year at ECSU, spring 2011, I had the opportunity to work on a research project titled "A Study on the Viability of Hadoop Usage on the Umfort Cluster for the Processing and Storage of CReSIS Polar Data" under the direction of Mr. Jeaime Powell of ECSU. The investigation involved Hadoop functionality and usage through reviewed publications. I gained experience in implementing software in a clustered environment in this project as well as my first experience in presenting research.

In the summer of 2011, I was accepted as a summer research intern at Indiana University (IU), Bloomington campus. At IU I worked with Dr. XiaoFeng Wang in the field of computer security. The internship program exposed me to programming methods and cloud computing security issues. Specific areas of research dealt with modifying Java code in a hybrid cloud environment to separate sensitive data from public data. I presented my research at The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), Indianapolis, Indiana. While at Indiana University I also completed a GRE prep class and took the GRE test.

In the fall of 2011, I was invited to attend a GPS training workshop at Virginia State University, Petersburg, Virginia. The workshop consisted of three days of lectures and field experience conducted by Dr. Reginald Fletcher of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Dr. Fletcher provided hands on field training in the use of GPS devices and shared practical experience in the use of GIS/Remote sensing as a researcher with the USDA.

In the spring of 2012 I worked on a research project "Survey to Detect Long-term Variability in Pine Island Bay Coastal Ice Using Archived Landsat Imagery "under the mentorship of Dr. Malcom LeCompte. The primary focus of this research was to examine an area of west Antarctica between 100 and 110 degrees west longitude for coastal ice morphology changes. The team used archived Landsat imagery that was georeferenced to detect any major changes in the coastal ice morphology.
I found this to be a particularly rewarding research experience in that environmental concerns such as global warming are of great interest to me.

In April of 2012 I was invited to attend the University of New Hampshire Undergraduate Research Conference in Durham, New Hampshire. Here I did a poster presentation of my research on Hybrid cloud security; research performed at Indiana University.

My most recent research experience in summer 2012 involved a study of the Pine Island Glacier in west Antarctica. The research was completed as collaboration between Pennsylvania State University (PSU) and ECSU as part of the Research Experience for Undergraduates for Ocean, Marine, and Polar Science. I traveled to Penn State and worked with Dr. Sridar Anandakrishnan and Mr. Peter Burkett. Here I was instructed in using a Penn State developed program; Penn State Environment for Seismic Processing to analyze radar data. The title of my research was "Using CReSIS Radar Data to Determine Ice Thickness and Surface Elevation at Pine Island Glacier". I traveled back to ECSU to complete the project staying in contact with my mentors. I presented my research in an oral presentation at ECSU that was also videoed back to Penn State.

I look forward to challenging myself in the classroom and in the field. After completing my Bachelor's Degree I plan to pursue a Master's degree in the area of Remote Sensing and to learn all aspects of Geographic Information Science. The more exposure I have to research topics that involve the environment and climate change, the more I wish to pursue studies in these areas. I am prepared to work hard and make the sacrifices necessary to achieve my goals and part of this involves making a difference towards the sustainability of the planet.