Scholarship Winner Spotlights – Trajectory Magazine http://trajectorymagazine.com We are the official publication of the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) – the nonprofit, educational organization supporting the geospatial intelligence tradecraft Tue, 20 Feb 2018 16:12:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.4 https://i2.wp.com/trajectorymagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/cropped-TRJ-website-tab-icon-1.png?fit=32%2C32 Scholarship Winner Spotlights – Trajectory Magazine http://trajectorymagazine.com 32 32 127732085 Andrew Knight: A GEOINT Humanitarian http://trajectorymagazine.com/andrew-knight-geoint-humanitarian/ Wed, 01 Nov 2017 14:51:35 +0000 http://trajectorymagazine.com/?p=34999 Meet the 2017 Ken Miller Remote Sensing Scholarship Recipient

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Helping others has always been important to University of Georgia (UGA) graduate student Andrew Knight. But it wasn’t until he began his college education that Knight realized he could use geospatial intelligence to help people on a larger scale.

“I became interested in the idea of combining humanitarian needs and geoscience when my professor at James Madison University (JMU) during undergrad introduced us to the mapping of disease spread. It made perfect sense to combine my geospatial interests with my desire to give back.”

Andrew Knight is the 2017 recipient of USGIF’s Ken Miller Scholarship for Advanced Remote Sensing Applications. This $10,000 scholarship is offered in partnership with USGIF Organizational Member Riverside Research, and is awarded to a master’s degree candidate studying remote sensing and planning to enter the defense, intelligence, or homeland security workforce. Knight is the second person to earn this prestigious award.

“I have always known I wanted to work with the environment in some form but also I have a huge love for technology,” Knight said. “I found that geosciences were a good fit for me because it allows me opportunities to conduct field work, use cutting-edge technology, and apply concepts broadly.”

Knight is president of UGA’s student chapter of the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing. He also volunteers for Habitat for Humanity and is a member of the Boy Scouts of America’s National Honor Society.

For his thesis, Knight aims to combine machine learning with the detection of landmine and unexploded ordinance-like targets using unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and image analysis. He is developing a low-cost method using remotely piloted quadcopters to capture imagery of plastic targets representing landmines hidden in a test minefield.

“This project has allowed me to present to my peers and become a reference in my subfield while bringing high-impact, transformative geospatial technologies to my university,” Knight said. “I am thankful for being awarded the [USGIF Scholarship] as it supports my thesis work by helping me to purchase a UAS and complete my drone pilot certificate. Additionally, the scholarship will permit me to invest in higher quality materials that will be used in my field research for more accurate findings. I also hope to travel to conferences to share my results with the geospatial community.”

Knight currently works at UGA’s Center for Geospatial Research as a research assistant.

“I have really enjoyed working at the center because it is an opportunity for me to put the remote sensing skills I have learned into practice,” Knight said. “The people I work with continually push me to do my best.”

One of the projects Knight has contributed to at the center is an augmented reality system called the Sandbox/Tangible Landscape, which projects geographic information systems onto a malleable surface to create a unique 3D immersion and geo-visualization experience.

After receiving the Ken Miller scholarship, Knight plans to attend USGIF’s GEOINT 2018 Symposium in Tampa, Fla., in April 2018. USGIF scholarship winners annually receive free registration for USGIF’s Symposium.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to attend the GEOINT Symposium as I will be able to share ideas and collaborate with other professionals within the tradecraft,” Knight said. “This symposium will broaden my understanding of the GEOINT field while I learn about the different research opportunities within academia, government, and private industry.”

After he completes his master’s degree in geography, Knight hopes to work in a research laboratory or pursue his education further with a Ph.D.

Photo Credit: Andrew Knight

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Erin Manth: An Intelligence Career in the Making http://trajectorymagazine.com/erin-manth-intelligence-career-making/ Wed, 01 Nov 2017 14:50:27 +0000 http://trajectorymagazine.com/?p=34996 2017 USGIF Scholarship winner applies GEOINT to national security

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With an affinity for current events, history, international affairs, and geography, intelligence analysis was a natural career choice for Erin Manth, who is earning a bachelor’s degree in intelligence studies. Manth, a student at Mercyhurst University in Pennsylvania, is one of 26 recipients under USGIF’s 2017 Scholarship Program.

“Winning the USGIF Scholarship is a great honor and opportunity,” Manth said. “USGIF offers the unmatched opportunity to be part of a wide network of GEOINT professionals. I appreciate the chance to further my understanding of GEOINT through the opportunity to attend the GEOINT Symposium. The scholarship will aid in funding my final semester at Mercyhurst and contribute to other scholastic experiences as I move toward graduation.”

Manth’s interest lies in applying GEOINT to national security and humanitarian response, specifically in the Middle East and North Africa. In spring 2017, Manth studied abroad in Morocco, where she was able to improve her Arabic language skills and cultural understanding.

“It allowed me to see the human element in a diverse society and achieve better understanding of the people that live in the different regions I study,” Manth said.

Manth has participated in various activities on campus related to her studies. She is a member of the National Security Club and a student volunteer for Mercyhurst’s Anti-Human Trafficking Intelligence Cell, which works with a non-governmental organization to provide analysis and research. Manth also works for the university’s Center for Intelligence Research and Training, a research arm of Mercyhurst’s intelligence program. Her team is working on a project for the U.S. Army War College examining Syria’s stability through map creation.

This summer, Manth completed a second internship with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) as an imagery analysis intern. At NGA, Manth improved her GEOINT skills as well as her intelligence writing and briefing skills. The mentorship while at the agency was one of her favorite aspects of the experience.

“Throughout my internship, I was fortunate to have multiple amazing mentors who have encouraged, inspired, and guided me throughout my professional development in GEOINT.”

Manth graduates in December and hopes to get her first job in the Intelligence Community.

Photo Credit: Erin Manth

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Anne Aryadne Bennett: A Passion for Engineering and Space http://trajectorymagazine.com/anne-aryadne-bennett-passion-engineering-space/ http://trajectorymagazine.com/anne-aryadne-bennett-passion-engineering-space/#respond Wed, 02 Nov 2016 03:00:22 +0000 /?p=27844 Meet the first recipient of the Ken Miller Scholarship

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Anne Aryadne Bennett is the first recipient of the Ken Miller Scholarship for Advanced Remote Sensing Applications offered by USGIF in partnership with Riverside Research.

Anne Aryadne Bennett has a passion for engineering and space. She also greatly enjoys research and seeing her work make a difference.

Bennett is the first recipient of the Ken Miller Scholarship for Advanced Remote Sensing Applications offered by USGIF in partnership with Riverside Research. The $10,000 scholarship benefits incoming or current master’s degree students who plan to enter the defense, intelligence, or national security workforce and are studying remote sensing and related topics.

While working full-time with Orbital ATK’s space systems group, Bennett is pursuing an online master’s degree in astronautical engineering from the University of Southern California, a USGIF-accredited school. With Orbital ATK she is currently a senior mission systems engineer developing new satellite technology supporting national security missions. Some of her areas of focus include small sat innovation, automated data processing, and orbital debris mitigation.

“The Ken Miller scholarship has made a huge difference for me,” Bennett said. “The funds will be a big help with the remaining courses I have in completing my master’s degree, as well as the doctorate degree I plan to begin in a couple of years.”

Bennett graduated with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from California Polytechnic State University. Previously, she worked in the information technology and customer service departments for solar technology provider SunPower Corp. Bennett also held a 9-month internship with the science and technology directorate at a U.S. intelligence agency, where she assisted engineering teams and participated in research and development projects.

“I enjoy research and being able to make a difference,” she said. “Highlights from my graduate and undergraduate studies and work experience are any projects encouraging an innovative approach and allowing me to find an answer that isn’t already known.”

When Bennett isn’t working, she enjoys outdoor activities, especially horseback riding, hiking, and ice hockey.

“They are great outlets for me to unwind, but also a way for me to think of new ideas for projects at work,” she said.

Bennett plans to achieve her second master’s degree in spring 2018 and intends to begin her Ph.D. studies shortly after to further support her work in innovative space technologies.

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Monica Medel: Journalist Turned Crime Mapper http://trajectorymagazine.com/monica-medel-journalist-turned-crime-mapper/ http://trajectorymagazine.com/monica-medel-journalist-turned-crime-mapper/#respond Wed, 02 Nov 2016 06:58:15 +0000 /?p=27843 Using social media to track the perception of crime

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Monica Medel is a 2016 and 2015 USGIF Scholarship recipient. At Texas State University, her dissertation is using social media to track the perception of crime.

From reporting the news to teaching, Monica Medel’s resume is far from ordinary. The 2016 and 2015 USGIF Scholarship Program recipient is pursuing a Ph.D. in geographic information science at Texas State University, and the subject of her dissertation is using social media to track the perception of crime.

Previously, Medel earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the Universidad de Chile in 1995 and master’s degrees in Latin American studies and public affairs from the University of Texas at Austin in 2012.

Medel began studying crime as a foreign correspondent, analyzing drug trafficking in Mexico and its economic and political impacts for Spanish news agency EFE, and later for Reuters.

“I covered drug trafficking with the Mexican Army and witnessed violence while doing features for Reuters in Michoacán,” Medel said. “In one instance, the police convoy I was with was shot at by an unidentified convoy while conducting a road patrol. Fortunately, nobody was hurt, but that issue and the lives of farmers cultivating drug crops caught my attention and furthered my interest in the field.”

For her dissertation, Medel mines Twitter and uses big data to track crime and the public perception of certain events. Medel said her research is aiming to create a model that extracts the content and feelings of tweets and analyzes them in spatial and social context to better understand how and when particular types of crime trigger specific reactions. She said the system would be useful in tracking real-time crime perception patterns—such as when public reaction reverberates far beyond where the crime occurred and has a larger geographic context—and also in identifying areas where fear of crime is prevalent.

“My passion is researching, working on a real-world problem, and finding a solution,” Medel said.

According to Yongmei Lu, a professor in the department of geography at Texas State University, Medel has left a strong impression on her professors.

“[Monica] has been working closely with me on her research and has already got two peer-reviewed journal articles published with very prestigious GIS and geography journals,” Lu said. “This is an outstanding record for a graduate student who just finished her Ph.D. coursework.”

In addition to her extensive dissertation research, Medel is in her second year as an instructor at Texas State University, teaching an introductory GIS course.

“What I enjoy most while teaching is generating students’ curiosity and their desire to learn more about what is going behind the scenes when they use different types of software to run analyses,” Medel said. “If they learn that, they can then tweak and adapt tools and workflows to better accomplish whatever they have in mind.”

Outside of work, Medel volunteers with the women’s professional and social organization Supporting Women in Geography and GIS and the GeoMentor program through the American Association of Geographers and Esri. She also teaches Spanish to disadvantaged students as part of the Austin Partners in Education organization.

Medel’s advice for future applicants of the USGIF Scholarship Program: “Work hard and show passion for what you’re doing.”

Medel is expected to defend her dissertation and achieve her doctoral degree by summer 2017.

Photo Credit: Monica Medel

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Andrew Ryan: Discovering the IC http://trajectorymagazine.com/andrew-ryan-discovering-ic/ http://trajectorymagazine.com/andrew-ryan-discovering-ic/#respond Wed, 02 Nov 2016 06:53:00 +0000 /?p=27842 2016 USGIF Scholarship recipient begins a master's degree program in geoinformatics and geospatial intelligence

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2016 USGIF Scholarship Recipient Andrew Ryan studied geography at Virginia Tech and now works at DigitalGlobe as an all-source geospatial analyst.

Andrew Ryan, a 2016 USGIF Scholarship recipient, enjoys contributing to OpenStreetMap and experimenting with data and new techniques. Ryan earned a bachelor’s degree in geography from Virginia Tech, and this year began a master’s degree in geoinformatics and geospatial intelligence from George Mason University.

“Outside of the classroom and lab, Andrew was a motivated student who never stopped advancing his own education,” said Stewart Scales, an instructor with Virginia Tech’s geography department. “On several occasions, he requested additional data to work with independently in his spare time to create innovative maps and better understand the principles we discussed in lecture.”

Ryan said his time at Virginia Tech was rewarding and helped him decide to pursue a career supporting national security.

“Of all the courses I took as an undergraduate, ‘The CIA: Organization, Function, and Capabilities’ was by far the most impactful on my education and career goals,” Ryan said. “The course was taught by a retired CIA officer and opened up a whole new world for me. It introduced me not only to the CIA and its functions, but also to the function of the Intelligence Community as a whole and the discipline of geospatial intelligence.”

Ryan had the opportunity to intern with the U.S. State Department’s Office of the Geographer and Global Issues, where he developed maps and produced his own cartographic products. He also provided imagery support to MapGive, Imagery to the Crowd, and Secondary Cities initiatives through the State Department’s Humanitarian Information Unit.

Ryan now works full-time as an all-source geospatial analyst with DigitalGlobe, where he contributes to various projects, bringing together multiple big data sources to extract meaningful information.

“[At DigitalGlobe,] I’m able to make contributions daily to both my team and the projects I support, which, in my opinion, is the best thing you could hope for in any position,” Ryan said. “The projects I’m supporting are always evolving in some aspect, so I’m able to continuously learn and evolve.”

Ryan plans to apply his USGIF Scholarship toward finishing his master’s degree and attending future conferences to help expand his skills and professional development. After achieving his master’s degree, Ryan hopes to also pursue a Ph.D.

Photo Credit: Andrew Ryan

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Sarah Eason Watson: An Enriching GIS Education http://trajectorymagazine.com/scholarship-spotlight-sarah-eason-watson/ http://trajectorymagazine.com/scholarship-spotlight-sarah-eason-watson/#respond Tue, 12 Jan 2016 04:08:24 +0000 Sarah Eason Watson was instantly hooked when she took a GIS class for the first time in 2008 at Austin Community College. As someone who always enjoyed maps and puzzles she seized the opportunity to turn a hobby into a career.

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2010 USGIF Scholarship Recipient Sarah Eason Watson is now a GIS analyst for the Edwards Aquifer Authority.

Sarah Eason Watson was instantly hooked when she took a GIS class for the first time in 2008 at Austin Community College. As someone who always enjoyed maps and puzzles she seized the opportunity to turn a hobby into a career.

Watson is a 2010 recipient of the USGIF Scholarship Program, having achieved the scholarship while an undergraduate student at Texas State University at San Marcos. Watson said the USGIF Scholarship was a financial boon for her education.

“The scholarship definitely helped make a lot of things possible,” she said.

For starters, the USGIF scholarship helped Watson achieve a master’s degree through the Erasmus Mundus Master in Geospatial Technologies program, a joint program between the Universidade Nova de Lisboa in Portugal, the University of Münster in Germany, and the Universitat Jaume I in Spain, in which students spend a semester at each school. Watson believes the program was a challenging yet heartening and memorable experience.

“Compared to a U.S. graduate program, [the joint European program] was very different and fast paced,” Watson said. “In the U.S. we’re used to three or four graduate courses at a time, but at this program I had to take 11 courses at a time with only six months to write my thesis. It was intense but very enriching and eye-opening. It was also culturally enriching to meet other students from all over the world.”

Watson’s academic research included topics such as crime, low water crossing analysis, and strategic noise mapping. Watson found her master’s thesis in strategic noise mapping particularly interesting because she used ModelBuilder, an application that produces and manages models, to conduct her research. Watson employed the tool to apply sound attenuation equations and create a multiple noise source propagation and combination interpolation toolset in Esri’s ArcGIS.

Currently, Watson works as a GIS analyst for the Edwards Aquifer Authority (EAA) in San Antonio, Texas. She also works on the Aquifer Protection Team, which includes conducting annual conservation easements (inspecting properties) and writing reports. As the only member of the EAA’s GIS department, Watson teaches her colleagues the basics of ArcGIS to help them learn basic mapping skills.

Watson hopes to continue her education and expand her career by achieving a graduate certificate in remote sensing from a Texas university.

“[GIS] is a really great field to be in and I think it’s important to get the word out about it,” she said. “It’s a huge thing that has become an integral part in city and disaster management. It’ll be fun to watch where GIS will go in the future.”

Photo Credit: Edwards Aquifer Authority 

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Joel Max: Applying GEOINT to Emergency Management http://trajectorymagazine.com/scholarship-spotlight-joel-max/ http://trajectorymagazine.com/scholarship-spotlight-joel-max/#respond Sun, 01 Nov 2015 23:33:28 +0000 When Joel Max, a 2015 USGIF scholarship recipient, recalled attending USGIF’s GEOINT Symposium for the first time in June, he described himself as a “kid in a candy shop.”

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Joel Max

USGIF Scholarship recipient Joel Max (right) takes a tour of the areas affected by the 2013 Colorado floods in Larimer County with a county commissioner and Senator Cory Gardner. Photo Credit: Laura Levy

When Joel Max, a 2015 USGIF scholarship recipient, recalled attending USGIF’s GEOINT Symposium for the first time in June, he described himself as a “kid in a candy shop.” This was Max’s first opportunity to be immersed in the world of GEOINT—but it certainly won’t be the last.

Max is an emergency management coordinator for Larimer County, Colo., acting as a liaison between the county government and the public. Much of his job is to help local communities continue to rebuild after the 2013 Colorado floods. Max also sits on a number of committees related to preventative radiology, nuclear detection, and counterterrorism. He previously achieved a bachelor’s degree in political science and international studies with a concentration in North Africa, and the Middle East, from Colorado State University.

Though Max has a background in emergency management, it wasn’t until last year that he discovered geospatial intelligence and its benefits for emergency and disaster relief.

“I was aware of satellite imagery, but I didn’t realize it was its own field,” Max said.

While Max and his wife were on their honeymoon in the Dominican Republic in 2014, they met Kevin Jackson, USGIF awards subcommittee chair. Jackson introduced Max to GEOINT and from there Max was hooked.

“Joel has shown a great deal of enthusiasm and commitment to explore the geospatial intelligence tradecraft and its relevance in the world as well as the academic, professional development, and potential career opportunities available,” Jackson said. “More importantly, I believe Joel Max is representative of the next generation of GEOINT young professionals and the GEOINT Community would be well-served to have him as a part of it.”

Max is now pursuing a post baccalaureate certificate in geospatial intelligence applications via Pennsylvania State University’s online program.

“Applying for the scholarship was a great way to gain momentum and encourage me in this direction,” Max said.

In addition to winning the scholarship, Max was also selected to participate in USGIF’s Young Professional Golden Ticket Program at GEOINT 2015. As part of the program, Max gained admission to the entire conference and participated in exclusive networking activities at no cost.

“GEOINT 2015 was an incredible experience—it hit everything I was hoping it would,” Max said. “The networking was the biggest takeaway for me because I met so many people and heard about their backgrounds in GEOINT. I also got to speak with NGA Director Robert Cardillo one-on-one at a YPG luncheon, and that was very encouraging.”

Following his experience in the Golden Ticket Program, Max is now an active member of USGIF’s Young Professionals Group (YPG) and is working with other young professionals in the Colorado area to start a monthly YPG networking event.

Upon completing his certificate from Penn State in spring 2016, Max hopes to apply his many new skills in an emergency management and homeland security career.

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Jory Fleming: Connecting GEOINT and Marine Science http://trajectorymagazine.com/scholarship-spotlight-jory-fleming/ http://trajectorymagazine.com/scholarship-spotlight-jory-fleming/#respond Sun, 01 Nov 2015 11:29:31 +0000 USGIF Scholarship winner pursues geography and marine science undergraduate degrees at the University of South Carolina

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Jory Fleming

USGIF Scholarship recipient Jory Fleming and his service dog, Daisy, visit NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service in May 2015 to accept Fleming’s 2015 Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship.

Jory Fleming, a 2015 USGIF Scholarship Program award recipient, became interested in geography when as a homeschooled high school student he took a home study course in bird biology offered by Cornell University’s Lab of Ornithology.

Now, he’s a double major in geography and marine science with a minor in geophysics at the University of South Carolina (USC) slated to graduate with an undergraduate degree in spring 2017. Fleming is also on track to receive a USGIF GEOINT Certificate via USC’s geography department.

“I was excited the certificate was offered,” Fleming said. “It’s an avenue for me to tie together my geography interest toward GEOINT.”

At first, Fleming didn’t think he was qualified to apply for the USGIF Scholarship Program. However, after completing Pennsylvania State University’s “Geospatial Intelligence and the Geospatial Revolution” free online class via Coursera, he realized most of the things he was studying directly related to GEOINT and decided to apply.

“Having the scholarship is beneficial because it will allow me to focus on research and education without the stress of how to fund it,” he said.

Fleming is researching physical Earth processes and applied ocean sciences, and in the future plans to explore GIS modeling and marine technology. Earlier this year, he interned with the McEntire Joint National Guard Base in Hopkins, S.C., where he gained hands-on experience in airfield diagrams, GPS surveying, and other projects around the base. This fall, Fleming, the South Carolina Geographic Alliance, and a mentor from USC’s marine science program are helping to foster children’s interest in geography by bringing National Geographic’s giant traveling Pacific Ocean map to a local public library near USC.

“It’s a way to help kids think spatially and improve their spatial awareness, as well as to give them a basic lesson in marine science,” Fleming said.

In addition to his USGIF scholarship, this year Fleming also received a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship. As a result of this scholarship, Fleming will participate in a summer 2016 internship with NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management, where he plans to research the applications of GEOINT to NOAA’s mission.

Upon graduation from USC, Fleming plans to continue his education with a master’s degree and eventually a Ph.D. to become an expert in “blue” GEOINT.

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Crystal English: A Passion for Crime Mapping and Analysis http://trajectorymagazine.com/scholarship-spotlight-crystal-english/ http://trajectorymagazine.com/scholarship-spotlight-crystal-english/#respond Sun, 01 Nov 2015 05:35:31 +0000 In 2010, Crystal English earned a certification in crime and intelligence analysis from the California Department of Justice. English then went on to achieve a master’s degree in geography and GIS at California State University, Northridge.

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2015 USGIF Scholarship recipient Crystal English spoke at the 2015 Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Units 20/20 event about the geospatial visualization of digital communications surveillance for urban peacekeeping deployment.

Like most students, Crystal English didn’t know what her career path would be when she graduated high school. Having grown up in a military family, she joined the U.S. Army Signals Intelligence Service where she held a position in communications operations for nearly four years.

Following her military career, English earned associate’s degrees in television/radio production and administration of justice, as well as a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Having nurtured an interest in law enforcement while in college, English decided to attend Fullerton College Basic Police Academy in California. It was after exploring other options in law enforcement that she chose to become a crime analyst.

“I wanted an outlet that served both local law enforcement and the community they serve,” English said. “Crime analysis and mapping were the best fit. It allowed me to visualize the problem and ask the deeper questions about why certain crime was occurring in some locations and not others. In answering such questions, better solutions to mitigating crime can be derived in a more holistic way—one that involves all stakeholders.”

In 2010, English earned a certification in crime and intelligence analysis from the California Department of Justice. As part of the certification process, she completed a 400-hour internship with the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office Bureau of Investigation where she collected, collated, and analyzed criminal data from case files. English then went on to achieve a master’s degree in geography and geographic information science (GIS) at California State University, Northridge in 2013.

Now, English is on the path to achieve a Ph.D. in geography and GIS through a joint doctoral program with San Diego State University and the University of California at Santa Barbara. While obtaining her Ph.D., English has consulted for the Los Angeles Police Department’s Major Crimes Division.

English said the USGIF scholarships she received in both 2013 and 2015 have been of great benefit to her doctoral dissertation, which continues research from her master’s degree thesis and focuses on identifying underlying variables that influence urban crime in U.S. cities.

“The scholarship funds helped with travel for my research, which requires me to conduct field work and to speak with law enforcement officials,” she said.

English is expected to complete her Ph.D. in summer 2016, after which she hopes to work in a research capacity assisting local law enforcement.

“I want to have a positive impact on crime prevention,” English said. “I know I want to help create an atmosphere where communities have a better quality of life and a safe environment.”

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Megan Miller: Conducting Doctoral Research at NGA http://trajectorymagazine.com/scholarship-spotlight-megan-miller/ http://trajectorymagazine.com/scholarship-spotlight-megan-miller/#respond Tue, 25 Aug 2015 16:09:00 +0000 Megan Miller has always been interested in mathematics and analytics. After learning remote sensing and photogrammetry during her undergraduate studies and realizing its career opportunities, Miller knew it would be a good choice for her career path.

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2014 USGIF Scholarship Program recipient Megan Miller visited the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration building while conducting research for her Ph.D. dissertation.

2014 USGIF Scholarship Program recipient Megan Miller has always been interested in mathematics and analytics. After learning remote sensing and photogrammetry during her undergraduate studies and realizing its career opportunities, Miller knew it would be a good choice for her career path. Now, she is on her way toward achieving a Ph.D. in geomatics engineering at Purdue University.

While earning her master’s degree in geomatics engineering at Purdue, Miller won a 2014 USGIF Scholarship.

“I learned about USGIF from my mentor Nathan Ovans,” she said. “He proposed the scholarship as a way to get involved and have exposure in the GEOINT Community. The scholarship enabled me to attend the 2015 American Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Conference, where I presented my research in one of the technical sessions.”

Miller spent this summer interning at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s (NGA) Basic and Applied Research Office. She said her experience at NGA contributed to her Ph.D. research dissertation. Miller is studying algorithms and methodology that would enable digital surface model generation from low-altitude unmanned aerial vehicle imagery. The emphasis of her research is on maritime applications such as detection and safety of navigation.

Miller also attended USGIF’s GEOINT 2015 Symposium in June, which she said was a rewarding experience.

“I benefited greatly from the keynote speakers on the direction and momentum of the GEOINT Community,” Miller said. “The greatest benefit was from the interactions with peers and leaders who gave useful insight, and most importantly, vision for how to continue building an impactful skill set.”

Miller is expecting to earn her Ph.D. in May 2017. After graduating she hopes to become a fulltime member of the intelligence and defense community.

Photo Credit: Callison RTKL

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