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.
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