Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi

Julien Clifford

An Outstanding Islander

Outline photo of Julien Clifford

In Transit Time

Four years ago, Julien Clifford had no idea what he wanted to study. But after attending freshmen orientation, he decided to enroll in a Geographic Information Science course. Since then, he has been featured in a national magazine, worked as an intern in the field, been a successful research assistant, and has won scholarships and awards for his innovative designs.

In February 2013, the Houston, Texas, native won first place for his essay “The Future of Surveying” featured in Professional Surveyor Magazine. He received the grand prize, a R10 GNSS rover from Trimble, worth $25,000. The essay focused on land surveying, elevations, and boundaries.

“I was flabbergasted when I received a phone call letting me know I won the contest,” said Clifford. “I found out about it on Facebook. I’m anxious to get home to get my prize.”

As a result of winning the contest, the Professional Surveyor Magazine has asked Clifford to compose a feature on surveying for an upcoming issue.  

He has been an undergraduate research assistant at the Conrad Blucher Institute for two and a half years, initially working on Web visualization of hydrodynamic model predictions. Clifford, along with former Computer Science major Cristian Romo, developed a mobile application to facilitate access to hydrodynamic predictions for the port of Houston/Galveston.

The prototype led to a contract with the National Atmospheric and Oceanographic Administration (NOAA) and the mobile application “Transit Time” that is continued at NOAA for other U.S. ports.

Clifford also offered his talents to the Shell Company while working as a geomatics intern last summer, where he contracted surveying off shore. This summer, he will intern for the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) in Redlands, Calif.

At the 2013 Undergraduate Research Symposium, Clifford won the top prize for best oral presentation and received the prize for “Most Innovative with the Greatest Potential for Impact” Award sponsored by the Honors Program. He is currently working on another mobile application with fellow undergraduate researcher, Francesca Piccarazi.

Clifford is historian of the Geographic Information Sciences Student Organization (GISSO) to promote the GIS field through activities and provide resources and opportunities to raise student awareness of the field.

“I would hope that my family is happy for me and is as excited about my accomplishments as I am,” said Clifford. “I wouldn’t want to be in the same situation as Matilda (in the movie ‘Matilda’).”

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