Erik Thorkelson ?17

Erik Thorkelson

Class Year


Current home

Maple Grove, Minnesota


Geography and Earth Science

Current Position

GIS Analyst at SRF Consulting Group

Erik graduated from Carthage in 2017 with a major in geography and earth science and minors in geographical information sciences (GIS) and business administration.  He currently works as a GIS Analyst at SRF Consulting Group in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

“I work for an engineering firm specializing in transportation engineering. I create custom solutions for internal and external clients using the full suite of ArcGIS Products and ArcGIS Online functions. Ranging from custom data creation to a Story Map highlighting the data and telling the story of a project, I have my hands in a lot of mapping!”

“I believe I left Carthage very well rounded as a human being and having a variety of skills really helps you think critically and problem solve.”

Erik Thorkelson, ’17

What have you enjoyed most about your career?

“I really enjoy visual data and all the new ways we can show it. I have held a lot of different positions and seeing how government organizations, engineering firms, and local government use GIS is really great.”

How did Carthage prepare you?

“I believe I left Carthage very well rounded as a human being and having a variety of skills really helps you think critically and problem solve. In addition to that, the GIS minor at the time set me up with all the necessary skills to begin a career and go to get my master’s degree.”

What Carthage professors played a part in your success and how?

“The entire Geospatial Science Department faculty was critical. They were very supportive and always willing to help in any way that they could. They created an environment that was really conducive to learning and growing. The relationships I built with geospatial professors really paid off after Carthage. It was nice to know that if Professor Wenjie Sun or Professor Joy Mast was going to be a reference for you, that they knew who you were and could give a potential employer a real reference and not a canned story.”

What's your favorite Carthage memory?

“Being from Minnesota, Carthage was a good distance away from home so Carthage really shaped me as I was living alone for the first time. I would not trade living in Swenson Residence Hall freshman year for anything. Some of my favorite memories stem from just hanging out in the GIS lab with my classmates; we had a great group of people that made it enjoyable to do homework together.”

Tips for current Carthage students?

“I would say to make sure to find classes outside your major that interest you.
And make sure to slow down and enjoy the lake view every day!”

Are you a Carthage graduate who is excelling in your field?