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UTM alumnus lives dream of living, working overseas

Published (Volume 77, No. 6)

Credit: TOMI PARRISH / The Pacer

UTM alumnus Eric Brockwell now works in Kazakhstan.

Credit: TOMI PARRISH / The Pacer

UTM alumnus Eric Brockwell says he always wanted to live or work in the former Soviet Union.

He got his wish about a year ago.

Brockwell, who spoke to the History majors meeting on Sept. 28 and to a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) class on Sept. 29, is now a senior GIS administrator in Atyrau, Kazakhstan, one of the former Soviet republics. He works for an Italian oil exploration company that is part of a consortium including Shell, BP and Exxon.

UTM didn’t have an International Studies program when Brockwell went to college, so he majored in Geography with a minor in History. He was introduced to GIS during a field trip to Murray State not long before he graduated in 1993, then got a master’s degree at Florida State in Russian and Eastern European languages.

While in graduate school, Brockwell worked in GIS. That experience and his Russian language background helped him land the job in Kazakhstan, he said.

He didn’t possess many computer skills when he began his career, but recommends that students now pursue experience in databases and programming.