Mapping the way to a perfect internship

Story by Emily Albrent, Op/Ed Editor

A highly sought after, competitive internship with National Geographic is a dream for many, and for a recent graduate of UW-Eau Claire, a dream come true.

Jon Bowen recently completed a three-month internship with National Geographic and said he was very nervous at the start.

“One, I was super intimidated because I was headed to Washington, D.C., which is probably the biggest town I have lived in, and then this is like the cream of the crop for cartography which is exactly what I was
chosen to do.”

Bowen participated in field seminar trips and research projects while he attended Eau Claire. He said the education he received at this university was a great way to prepare for his internship.

He said he worked in the maps division creating a travel destination map for American Prairie Reserve — a conservation effort starting up in Montana with the mission to build the largest wildlife refuge in North America.

The hardest part about the internship, he said, was leaving, and the best part was working with the same people who publish maps within the department and within the magazine. He said it was amazing to design something that reaches a large audience.

“So many people are familiar with (National Geographic), and not only do I get to put it on my resume, but my work is being seen by plenty of people,” Bowen said.

Christina Hupy, associate professor in geography and anthropology at Eau Claire said she had Bowen in four classes. She also went on a geography research-based course that involved a 10-day field seminar trip to an island off the coast of Honduras with Bowen.

“He is a very outgoing and enthusiastic, hardworking person,” Hupy said. “He loves the outdoors and loves to travel and he loves inspiring other people to do those things as well.”Hupy said Bowen is a very dedicated person and takes geography seriously.

“He is very passionate about geography, he gets really fired up about it,” Hupy said. “So I think that he has really found something he has a strong passion for that drives him to keep pursuing experiences
in geography.”

Bowen also received an honorable mention in the 2013 National Geographic Mapping Awards for his work with Associate Professor of Geography and Anthropology Paul Kaldjian. Kaldjian and his class created the map as a class project, but he said it was Bowen who really wanted to make the project come together.

“It was as if Jon was addicted to working on the map,” Kaldjian said. “He just wanted to do such a good job.”

He said Bowen’s passion for map-making really shows in his work and receiving this internship with National Geographic will help him out immensely in the future with his search for jobs in cartography.

He also said Bowen is on the continuous hunt to learn more about creating and making great maps.

“As you can imagine there are not many jobs,” Kaldjian said. “But when it comes to cartography, Jon works very hard, he is very dedicated, he is only fixated on doing a good job which is exactly what it needs.”

Bowen said he hopes one day to go back and work at National Geographic but right now it is not in the cards. In the future, he said there will be more opportunities and he is planning on seeking those out.