Office of Continuing Education

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Meet Nicholas Barnett!

Meet Nicholas Barnett!
GIS Certificate Graduate

Nicholas Barnett attended the Continuing Education Department’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) course at Central Connecticut State University (CCSU), and completed the course with a certificate in GIS. Since then, he has used the skills he learned from Instructor Thad Dymkowski to focus on his research on animal studies, as he graduated in 2014 with a degree in Biology specialization in Evolution, Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology. The GIS program helps students learn to analyze and visualize data to answer questions and solve spatial problems.

While attending CCSU, Mr. Barnett studied animal behavior course in three unique projects. The first study involved using an ethogram on Timber Rattlesnakes and documenting their behavior in different den sites. Mr. Barnett hoped to find out whether or not the snakes were migrating from den to den, and he discovered that not only were they migrating, but they were traveling extensive distances. His second research project focused on Eastern Box Turtles, where Mr. Barnett worked on digitizing the data recorded on the location of the turtles. He was able to create a more efficient system to track the location of the turtles, and figure out which weather conditions the turtles are most likely to be found in. He and the Roaring Brook Nature Center have been working on this project since 1999. His third and final project, with Dr. Sylvia Halkin, concentrated on Eastern Gray Squirrels. Mr. Barnett wanted to figure out whether or not there was a pattern to where squirrels bury their acorns. He discovered that squirrels work in small clusters to shorten time and energy on transporting and burying their food.

Mr. Barnett gave credit to Continuing Education’s GIS program attributing to his studies. He exclaimed that the program was “awesome,” and believed it “really helped” him with his work in animal studies. Because of his GIS certification, Mr. Barnett has used his experience to work at Children’s Museum in West Hartford, Connecticut and at Roaring Brook Nature Center in Canton, Connecticut. He remains the Animal Curator at The Children’s Museum in West Hartford, and plans to use his acquired knowledge to attend graduate school and use the skills he learned in GIS to build a career.


If you are interested or want to learn more about the GIS Hybrid Certificate program at CCSU, please contact Christa Sterling at or 860-832-2277.

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