Building Bridges

USGIF’s new GEOINTegration Summit to highlight GEOINT workforce development


Representatives from academia, government, and industry are invited to shape the conversation surrounding GEOINT workforce development at USGIF’s first GEOINTegration Summit in September.

The two-day event, to be held Sept. 27 to 28 at the new Trajectory Event Center in Herndon, Va., will focus on the alignment of GEOINT curriculum with government and industry competencies in addition to strengthening academic partnerships with both government and industry.

“This event highlights the importance of investing in teaching, which has a domino effect on the GEOINT workforce,” said Dr. Camelia Kantor, USGIF’s Vice President of Academic Affairs. “Whatever knowledge universities are able to develop and impart on students shapes future GEOINT professionals.”

As such, the theme for the inaugural summit is “From the Classroom to the SCIF,” referencing the often classified nature of the intelligence profession and the importance of facilitating access for students and educators.

“A lot of the GEOINT tradecraft used by government and industry doesn’t get translated into curriculum, where usually programs teach technology and critical thinking but don’t always offer practical, hands-on experience because of lack of access to clearances,” Kantor continued. “We are trying to create that bridge where students and faculty learn insights from government and industry.”

Penn State’s Dr. Todd S. Bacastow, chair of USGIF’s Academic Planning Committee, agreed and described “knowledge plus character” as the goal of the Foundation’s educational efforts.

“We need to ensure that our future professionals are raised in a community that they admire and seek to emulate for the rest of their lives,” Bacastow said.

Speakers at the summit will include National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) Deputy Director Dr. Stacey Dixon; NGA Deputy Director of Analysis Tradecraft Andrea Root, NGA Human Development Director Stephanie Platz-Vieno, and several leading experts from industry and USGIF-accredited universities. The student perspective will be front and center as well.

“We are putting students on the main stage, which we don’t do at other USGIF events,” Kantor said. “In addition to an all-student panel we will have a virtual presentation by Franco Perazzoni, who earned a USGIF GEOINT Certificate from NOVA IMS in Portugal and is now head of The Brazilian Federal Police GEOINT Service.”

Kantor emphasized that the summit is just as much an opportunity for representatives from industry and government to learn from academia as vice versa.

“While industry is often considered to be at the forefront of innovation, a substantial amount of innovation stems from academia as well,” she said. “This event is also a great opportunity for industry and government to benefit from knowledge exchange. It’s a two-way street.”

Bacastow credited Kantor for leading the establishment of this new event.

“Her passion for geospatial intelligence education is infectious and inspired others to join the effort,” he said.

Col. Steven D. Fleming, Ph.D., of the University of Southern California and a member of USGIF’s Academic Planning Committee, said he looks forward to seeing representatives from all of the foundation’s collegiate accredited programs gathered in one place.

“The newly named GEOINTegration Summit is planned as an ideal venue to introduce more opportunities for academia and government/industry to connect,” Fleming said. “This initial event hopes to set a course moving forward for a more robust and meaningful dialogue between academia and government/industry.”

  • Click here to learn more and to register.

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