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Joanna Sajewska Supinska - Polish Farm Girl to USA Geospatial Leader

posted Jul 2, 2019, 3:32 PM by Louis Rodriguez   [ updated Oct 29, 2019, 1:57 PM ]
Joanna Sajewska Supinska grew up in a village named Siemiatkowo which is located in a rural section of east-central Polandabout 62 miles northwest of Warsaw.  Her father owns a farm in the village and when she was young he “planted a seed” in her mind that one day she would become a land surveyor.  On that day her father took her onto the farm and showed her a survey monument that marked the corner of his property.  He was looking to delineate the property lines of his farm and he taught Joanna why these markers were set in the ground and their importance when it came to property ownership.  She was very interested in learning more and he suggested that she pursue a career in geodesy.  Who knew that that seed which took root on a farm in Poland would someday grow roots that would spread all the way across the Atlantic Ocean to the United States where fields of opportunities would await her? Here is her story…
Joanna attended college at the University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn where she studied in the Department of Geodesy, Spatial Engineering & Construction.  She obtained a Bachelor's Degree with an emphasis in geodesy and real estate appraisal and a Master's Degree with an emphasis in geodesy and satellite navigation.   While in college she worked as an intern at several land surveying companies but after graduation, she found that there were not a lot of career opportunities in her field in Poland. 

Although English is not her first language, Joanna quickly learned how to apply the geodesy skills she learned in Poland to her new company. Joanna was also not afraid to throw on a pair of boots and work with a variety of different equipment in the field.  Her skills went far beyond a traditional land surveying total stations as she was able to utilize global positioning systems (GPS) and 3D laser scanners on projects in an urban or rural environment.  She was also able to translate land surveying data using a variety of computer software into property plans or engineering drawings.   

Although she did not find a lot of opportunities in geodesy in Poland after graduation, Joanna did not lose faith in her career.  One of her aunts had recently moved to the United States and told Joanna she felt there were plenty of opportunities for her in New Jersey. Joanna has an adventurous spirit and she felt she was ready for whatever challenges may come her way in the USA.  In 2013 she applied for a Geospatial Specialist position at Rodriguez in Philadelphia.  She was quickly hired and was amazed to find out she wasn't the only female Polish land surveyor working at the firm (more on that story in a future episode).
Over the past six years, Joanna's skills and attention to detail have been an invaluable asset to facility managers, property owners, and utility companies here in the USA. In 2016 Joanna worked on a project at Jefferson Hospital that involved scanning a piece of public artwork and her skills were noticed by the director of a new program at Jefferson University called Geospatial Technology for Geodesign. She was asked to develop and teach a graduate course called GeoDesign Explorations for their College of Architecture and the Built Environment.  The young girl from a village in Poland is now a mentor to many in the USA.  
Oh yes, that same year Joanna became a U.S. Citizen.