To put it succinctly, we are problem solvers.
We understand each piece of the puzzle and how they all fit together, and so can tackle an incredibly diverse range of imaging-related problems with the core fundamental background.
This versatility is one of the things I love about the Imaging Science program. With a fundamental, systems-based understanding of imaging, you can apply these tools to a diverse range of applications. This really translates into career flexibility. You have the freedom to follow your career goals and interests as they evolve and change, without worrying about being pigeonholed into a single discipline.
To give you an example from my personal experiences, here is a snapshot of my current and future interests:
My dissertation research involves using laser scanning for structural ecological assessment. We have developed a portable laser-scanning system for rapid three-dimensional assessment of below-canopy forest structure. I am using this technology to help better understand the next generation of airborne and space-borne sensing systems.
Photo at left: In the fuselage of NEON’s airborne imaging spectrometer. (The large instrument is the spectrometer and waveform lidar, which is mounted to look out of a hole in the bottom of the aircraft). Photo: David Kelbe.
But while my dissertation work focuses on ecological and laser scanning, I’ve also had the opportunity to become involved in other imaging projects, like recovering erased text from ancient manuscripts using spectral imaging and image processing.
And in the future, I see my work focusing on the nexus between remote sensing science and humanitarian policy. Earth imaging has already proven crucial in response to natural disasters. My hope in the future is that we can do a step better – and actually predict and prepare for preventable, slow-onset global crises (e.g., food shortage) in the developing world.
How can you make grad school work for you?
I went to RIT (also Imaging Science) as an undergraduate and continued on in the PhD program. As a new grad student it’s invaluable to get to know your classmates, professors, and staff. Become part of the group. A great strength of many higher education programs is the huge diversity of students, backgrounds, and experiences. Often we tend to stick to the familiar, but go outside your comfort zone! Get to know each other, work together, and learn from each other!
Finally, the degree is yours to create!
The author, David Kelbe, is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, researching airborne small footprint waveform lidar (light detection and ranging) for his dissertation. He has also worked on uncovering erased text from ancient manuscripts, and manages to find time for not one but two local community service projects: Kelbe volunteers at a refugee outreach center as well as a men’s emergency homeless shelter, both in Rochester.