Class of 2022: Geography major mapped Baldwin County roads

Class of 2022: Geography major mapped Baldwin County roads

J halen Reymoreno Billingslea

From: Decatur, Georgia

Major: Geography Minor: Urban Studies. I chose geography because I always had an interest in maps. I chose urban studies because my degree will earn me opportunities in planning and development. Urban studies enhances my attractiveness to employers.

Why Georgia College: I originally chose to attend Georgia College because my best friend from high school decided to go here. I stayed because of the academic quality.

Activities: Geography Club

Jhalen Billingslea
Jhalen Billingslea
Internship: My internship is with Baldwin County Public Administration. I’m working in the Geographic Information System (GIS) department under the leadership of a Georgia College alumnus. Currently, I’m making an interactive web map that contains information on all roads within the county that fall under the jurisdiction of Baldwin County. This interactive map will also have symbols for all road signs that fall under that jurisdiction, along with an attached photo of the sign. The map will save road workers and, hopefully, the fire department precious time that can be used to serve the local people. Currently, when certain information is needed, my superiors must locate physical documents. If they can’t, they may have to drive to a street to evaluate it. When this map is complete, it’ll allow multiple departments to run more efficiently. We all win in this case, and I’m very proud of that.

Research: I’ve done small research projects on multiple geographic subjects. One research paper I completed focused on improving birth-rates in Japan. I found that Hungary had found success improving birth rates by gifting couples a new house in exchange for having another kid.

Biggest achievement: My biggest achievement in college was making the Dean's list Spring 2020 semester, even though COVID hit that semester.

Favorite professor: Dr. Oetter, because he’s the main reason I was able to land a great internship.

Best moment in college: It was Deep Roots 2019, and my most impactful was being accepted back after taking a two-year gap.

What he’ll miss the most: I’ll miss those first two months of freshman year the most. Everything just felt so magical, and I met people I will never forget, even if we don't hang out anymore.

Advice for first-year students: Two things—reach out to the people on your floor when you first get to the dorms and don’t be afraid to say "hi" to people you recognize. Many times, someone wants you to reach out to them, but they may not know how. Be polite to your professors and participate in class. I had a professor bump me from an 89 to a 90 because I was polite and engaged during class.

Key to success: The key to success for me was learning how to get through the first 10 minutes of an assignment you don’t want to do. Those first few minutes, after sitting down to complete an assignment, can be quite painful. Drink a coffee and remind yourself that you can do it. It will stop hurting!  

How he’s changed during college:  I was wild coming out of Decatur High School. Now, I am morally a much more upstanding person. I have a much higher work ethic and better character. I am more confident in general.

Future plans: I plan to make some high-risk investments, using money from a GIS career to fund them. I’ll certainly be working in GIS for at least a couple of years. I would love to live somewhere warm outside of Georgia for a while.

How Georgia College helped: The geography department did a fantastic job teaching me the skills to be successful and employed in either the public or private sector. My coworkers at my internship were highly impressed.  Thank you, Dr. Oetter, Dr. Sumpter, Dr. Fahrer, Dr. “O” and Dr. Rochello!