The USGIF Awards Program recognizes those who have gone above and beyond to make contributions to the GEOINT Community. In 2013, USGIF’s Awards Subcommittee recognized a high school geospatial technology program for the first time with the USGIF Academic Achievement Award. Dover Area High School’s geospatial technology program in Pennsylvania is an elective curriculum that generates GEOINT awareness among high school students by explaining how the technology applies to their daily lives.

“I think we’ve done a great job of showing the potential career path for students and helping feed the GEOINT Community,” said Charles Benton, director of the Dover Academy of Career and Technical Education. “Having the geospatial technology program has really helped our student body. It’s been a neat ride watching this program and our students grow. I don’t think students would know about GEOINT if not for this program.”

The geospatial technology program launched in 2007 in partnership with Washington College and carrying the mission to design a program around an open-source learning platform. The educators selected Moodle, which allows for textbook-free classes and enables students to complete all assignments online. There are about 60 students currently enrolled in the program for the 2014-2015 academic year, with the ability to choose from courses in GIS levels 1-4, remote sensing, and GPS fundamentals. The program also expanded to offer Dover Intermediate School’s seventh grade students an environmental geo tech course.

The program has been successful at encouraging students to continue their geospatial education in college. Upon completion of Dover’s program, students who go on to attend Harrisburg University of Science and Technology automatically transfer three college credits. Many of the program’s former students chose to continue their GEOINT education at Harrisburg, while others chose to pursue the discipline at Pennsylvania State University, Washington College, Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh University, and the United States Army Reserve.

After receiving the USGIF 2013 Academic Achievement Award, Dover’s geospatial technology program was further recognized for its success throughout the school district and the state. Benton said he’s been contacted by many high schools throughout Pennsylvania interested in reconfiguring their geospatial learning programs or hoping to start a similar program.

“The community is now starting to understand what geospatial technology is and how it is used in our local and national workforce and national security,” Benton said. “Dover’s geospatial technology program has come a long way in six years, but we still have work to do to improve upon what has been started.”

Click here to learn more about the USGIF Awards Program.

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Posted by Lindsay Tilton Mitchell

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