My undergraduate education at MSU in geography prepared me very well for both graduate and professional work. For example, courses in land use and location theory, statistics, geographic thought, urban geography, economic geography, cartography, and transportation planning (internship) laid the foundation for developing technical, conceptual, research, and critical analysis skills that I have carried into graduate work in geography (Miami University, MA and Indiana University, PhD) as well as in my professional work. In fact, I still often refer to my MSU geography textbooks as part of my work!
For the last 15 years I have worked for the Michigan Department of Transportation as a transportation planner in our travel demand forecasting model area. I am responsible for developing and maintaining socioeconomic data inputs for our models, providing technical/statistical support to internal and external planning partners around the state, and developing and managing contracts related to the development of models and/or socioeconomic databases. Our travel demand models are generally the traditional 4-step type: trip generation, trip distribution, mode choice, and network assignment. My work is largely involved with trip generation, in that spatial interaction (trips) between origins and destinations is a function of base and forecasted levels of population, households, land use, employment, and other variables.