Fueling Academic Excellence

A letter from USGIF’s CEO, Ronda Schrenk

CEO letter title image 1

USGIF CEO Ronda Schrenk

The beginning of a new calendar year is one of the most exciting times around USGIF. Our staff is hard at work planning USGIF’s year of programming, such as our GEOINT Service Days series, Women in Leadership breakfast series, Young Professionals events, and our annual call for scholarship applications is released. While we’re proud to provide myriad educational, training, professional development, and networking opportunities, the annual scholarship cycle certainly has a special place in our hearts.

Our 2022 scholarship winners include budding leaders in data science, open-source intelligence, 3D modeling and visualization, geospatial AI, environmental and food security, geospatial software development, disaster and risk management, remote sensing, and more.

In recent years, the USGIF Scholarship program has expanded to include new awards thanks to the generosity of USGIF Organizational Members and individuals.

In 2022, USGIF introduced the first-ever Scholarship for Diversity and Innovation in GEOINT with USGIF Organizational Member Maxar. This year’s awardee is Kriesjo Quimzon, a graduate student in the Spatial Data Science program at Pennsylvania State University.

We also launched the inaugural Scholarship for Diversity in STEM with USGIF Organizational Member EVONA. This year’s awardee is Janna Chapman, an undergraduate student studying Geographical Sciences and Environmental Science and Technology at the University of Maryland, College Park.

USGIF currently offers five recurring scholarships as well as our general doctoral, graduate, undergraduate, and graduating high school senior scholarships. We are pleased to announce two new recurring scholarships in 2023. Leidos has committed to fund an annual scholarship for students advancing AI/ML research in GEOINT. At the December 2022 GEOGala, AWS announced its intent to sponsor a recurring scholarship focused on diversity in GEOINT.

Chelsea L. Cervantes de Blois

Former scholarship winners Chelsea L. Cervantes de Blois and Georgia Bass also took the stage at the GEOGala. They discussed how scholarship funding and professional interactions with USGIF and the GEOINT community have tremendously impacted their burgeoning careers.

“If it were not for USGIF opening my eyes to GEOINT, I would have probably become an English major… Instead, I’ve had incredible opportunities to do what I love each and every day and to contribute toward strengthening the DoD,” said Bass in her GEOGala remarks. “I believe my contributions to U.S. national security from within the government is my way of paying back the opportunities made possible to me through the USGIF Scholarship program.”

In 2022, USGIF presented $100,000 in scholarships to 25 students, and our scholarship program has generated more than $1.6 million in awards since its inception. This accomplishment would not be possible without the support of USGIF Members. If you or your organization are interested in funding or helping fund an award, please get in touch with us to begin the conversation.

Georgia Bass

This month, USGIF will launch housing and registration for the GEOINT Symposium that will be held May 21-24 in St. Louis, Missouri. The call for lightning talk and training submissions is open now through February 10. We encourage USGIF Organizational and Individual Members, as well as Accredited Schools and Academic Partners, to take advantage of this opportunity to share their work with the broader GEOINT community.

Thank you, as always, for your dedication to and support of USGIF. None of our programs would be possible without our members, attendees, sponsors, supporters, and partners. I look forward to seeing you soon around our offices and/or at our upcoming events. Finally, I encourage you to consider donating to USGIF’s 2023 Scholarship Campaign to help grow the next generation of GEOINTers. The GEOGala’s Silent Auction pushed us to almost 90% of our $100,000 goal, and we’d love to cross that finish line.

As we head into the new year, on behalf of our entire team, I send the best to you and your families and wish you all a healthy, happy, and prosperous 2023.


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