Young professionals discuss GEOINT with summer program students
What do a mechanical engineer, an Air Force special tactics veteran, an emergency responder, and an entrepreneur have in common? They are all members of USGIF’s Young Professionals Group (YPG) working in the GEOINT Community.
These four individuals spoke to approximately 50 students in George Mason University’s (GMU) Aspiring Scientists Summer Internship Program (ASSIP) June 23. Their goal was to introduce the students to GEOINT and its many career possibilities.
“We are truly grateful the young professionals donated their time to generate awareness of geospatial intelligence and share their remarkable journeys,” said Amy Adams, ASSIP coordinator and GMU’s scientific outreach and education program manager. “They are inspirational role models.”
The panelists were Chris DeMay, cofounder and chief operating officer of HawkEye 360; Justin Franz, volunteer engagement manager and YPG lead for USGIF; Victoria Pugliese, GIS analyst for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); and Isaac Zaworski, vice president of Vricon.
Each spoke about their background and lessons they’ve learned thus far in their careers.
“Get out of your comfort zone, find a mentor, and try new things—you might discover something new you like you didn’t realize before,” Pugliese said.
Additionally, the panelists spoke about careers in GEOINT, from the more traditional jobs in government and military to the growing use of GEOINT in commercial industries such as business/marketing, gaming, agriculture, and many others.
ASSIP is in its tenth year and is a competitive program that provides high school and undergraduate students with an interest in STEM the opportunity to gain real-world, hands-on experience with GMU researchers. Topic areas range from geoinformation science to bioengineering to medicine.
Throughout the seven and a half week program students work with researchers to learn about their field of interest, explore new technologies, and develop a research project which they present to their peers and GMU faculty in the last week.
Photo Credit: George Mason University
Designed to expand opportunities for students enrolled at HBCUs by providing on-site job interviews, networking, and information gathering, USGIF participated in the HBCU Week 4th annual Career and Recruitment Fair to spread the word about careers in GEOINT.
USGIF has awarded more than $1.6M in scholarships since launching the program in 2004. This year's winners represent a diverse and multi-talented group who demonstrate a shared desire to impact change through the use of geospatial intelligence tradecraft.