A Plan in Action

Thursday, June 19, 2014

After a few weeks of doing odds and ends for ObservaCoop we have finally landed our first large assignment for the summer: geocoding a portfolio European Commission projects in Mexico and using ArcGIS to create maps and a final report for the European Union. It was really exciting and somewhat intimidating at first, since we found out that we, as Summer Fellows, would be largely responsible for the execution of this project. Since none of the Fellows at Observacoop, myself included, have any real experience managing such an endeavor, the best we could do was smile and say “ya lo hacemos!” After all, it was going to be a learning experience for all of us – it would be our first time managing a project and it would be the interns’, our primary geocoders, first time geocoding.

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Poco a poco

Today marks the beginning of my third week in Mexico. When I came here two weeks ago, my bank PIN was rebelling, I was haphazardly thinking in three languages (English, Spanish, and Chinese), and I had a touch of altitude sickness. Within 48 hours of starting the job, my colleagues, Emily and Clay, and I put together a three-part geocoding training session in Spanish and then delivered it throughout the course of the week. We then read evaluations and improved the training program for our next session, which will be held a few weeks from now.

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Summer Fellowship at the Instituto Mora

Hello, World! My name is Darice Xue and I’m currently a member of the Class of 2016 at the College of William & Mary studying International Relations and Finance. This summer, I will have the pleasure of working at the Instituto Mora’s Observatorio de la Cooperación Internacional para el Desarollo en México (Observatory of the International Cooperation for Development in Mexico, henceforth “Observacoop”) through AidData’s Summer Fellowship Program. AidData is a research innovation lab that seeks to improve international aid transparency through the use of geospatial technology and mapping software. To date, it represents the collaborative effort of students and faculty from Brigham Young University, the University of Texas at Austin, and of course, here at the College. I have been working at AidData since my freshman year of college, geocoding aid information from a medley of media reports, World Bank documents, and government reports, and it’s been exciting to see the trends that have emerged over time.

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