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GEC Diary

This month, we welcomed Xie, a student with a great love for geological science to share her learning experience at GEC Academy. Xie is a student from Guangdong Experimental High School. In the interview, she highlighted what she learned from the program at GEC Academy and why she would like to make geoscience a lifelong pursuit.

“My grandparents were both geological researchers, and at a very young age, I was exposed to the knowledge of geoscience. At that time, I used to play with their rock samples as toys and the colourful crystals and floating pumice were my favourite ones. My passion for geoscience gradually grew as I learned more about it from my grandparents. After participating in a geoscience summer program, I decide to choose geoscience as the primary area of study for college.


Soon after I decided to major in geoscience, I learned about this Satellite Earth Observation and Remote Sensing Analysis Project-based learning program at GEC Academy via my counselor. The content is very appealing and meets my need of building a solid knowledge foundation of geoscience very well, so I applied for it without hesitation.


I really gained a lot about Geographic Information System (GIS) thanks to the professional guidance of Professor Walker, the invaluable help, and useful suggestions from my mentor and TAs. Not only did I learn the theoretical knowledge of satellite images, but also a lot of practical knowledge of Quantum Geographic Information System (QGIS) operation, and the methods to make analysis images, such as land cover change images and RGB band composite images. I believe that the knowledge I’ve learned through the program can help me in my future exploration of geoscience. In addition to that, I got the chance to improve my academic writing skills by writing a formal conference paper for the first time in my life.  


During the seven-week learning, I was first perplexed by the practice operation because I had no prior familiarity with GIS, in particular. Apart from that, other students in the class were from college, and some of them had taken GIS courses, so I was concerned about falling behind in the class’s progress. Sometimes, I was not sure how I should approach my homework. Luckily, I got help from everyone in the teaching team. When I was stuck, I followed the online tutorials offered by my mentor. If the homework was truly beyond my reach, I would turn to our teaching assistants, who always patiently answered my questions. As I became more involved in this course, the practice operation became more and more smooth.


This program was one of my first scientific research experiences, as it not only provided me with a unique chance to learn from the professor at Oxford University but also broadened my knowledge and enhanced my interest in geoscience, allowing me to gain a deeper understanding of scientific research at the same time. It has reaffirmed my enthusiasm for this major and the decision to make geoscience a lifelong pursuit. Furthermore, through this learning, I realized that no one’s profile can be copied, and everyone should walk their own path.”

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