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.