Following passion can map path to success

March 21, 2014 -- Winning the 2013 Esri Young Scholars Award for Australia has opened doors for Rodolfo Espada Jr he never dreamed possible.

Rodolfo’s winning entry - flood risk mapping of Brisbane’s electricity infrastructure – provided him with the opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the world’s leading spatial professionals at the 2013 Esri International User Conference in San Diego, California.

With submissions now open for this year’s Award, Rodolfo – who will sit on the judging panel to decide the 2014 winner - has reflected on the experiences afforded to him by participating in the competition.

“Winning the Esri Young Scholar Award has given me a great head-start to my career in this dynamic industry,” Mr Espada said.

“By attending the Esri UC, I had a front-row seat to some of the world’s most innovative applications of Geographic Information System (GIS) technology.

“I also had the opportunity to meet leaders and entrepreneurs in this field, and establish a global network of contacts, which will help with future research initiatives and long-term employment in the industry.”

The University of Southern Queensland PhD student admitted he was “humbled” to be asked to sit on the judging panel for the 2014 competition, and said he was eager to glimpse the work students were undertaking around the country.

“I had a wonderful experience last year and I’m looking forward to seeing this year’s winner have a similar experience,” he said.

“My advice to entrants is – if you’ve used GIS technology in any aspect of your studies or research, take a chance and enter your project.

“At the very least, you have the opportunity to have your work reviewed by a judging panel which comprises some of Australia’s leading spatial experts – and if you win, the rewards are phenomenal.”

Rodolfo will be joined on the judging panel by Esri Australia Managing Director Brett Bundock; Surveying & Spatial Sciences Institute President and Emeritus Professor, University of NSW John Trinder; Secretary for the Department of Communications Drew Clarke; and, Principal GIS Strategist for Western Power – 2013 winners of the Esri Special Achievement in GIS Award – David Klein.

The winning student will be flown to San Diego in July to meet with Esri founder and president Jack Dangermond, as well as other Young Scholars from around the globe.

They will also have the opportunity to hear from many of the world’s leading geo-enabled enterprises, and network with more than 15,000 spatial professionals.

Entries can cover any topic or field of study, however recommended areas include agribusiness, commercial/business, community, conservation, disaster response, education, or energy.

The competition is open now – and closes 11 April 2014. The winner will be announced on 20 April.

For further information on the Esri Young Scholar Award and to submit an application, visit

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