Building geospatial science programs at historically black colleges and universities
Representatives from academia, government, and industry met July 24-26 at Tuskegee University in Alabama to discuss the future of geospatial intelligence programs at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
The third annual event, “GEOINT at HBCUs: Integrating Geospatial Science in STEM Programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities” was an opportunity for representatives from eight different HBCUs to talk about their geospatial programs, discuss challenges, and share successes. Government participants, such as the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, as well as some individuals from industry, attended to discuss ways to support GEOINT curricula at HBCUs.
USGIF Vice President of Professional Development Dr. Darryl Murdock and Director of Academic Programs Dr. Camelia Kantor attended to share the many ways the Foundation can support HBCUs through its Collegiate GEOINT Accreditation Program, GEOINT Essential Body of Knowledge, and Universal GEOINT Certification Program.
“We wanted to share with HBCU representatives the value proposition of having USGIF academic GEOINT certificates at their programs to create a pipeline of professionals in the GEOINT space,” Kantor said. “We also shared certification opportunities USGIF offers GEOINT professionals once they’ve entered the job market.”
Five students from HBCUs attended to present their research, including T’nea Boyd, who Kantor mentored as a professor at Claflin University. Boyd gave a presentation on GEOINT training. Other research topics included precision agriculture, water quality, and STEM education.
The event also included a tour of historic sites and museums in Tuskegee, such as the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site, which commemorates the Army Air Corps program that trained African Americans to fly and maintain combat aircraft.
“It was important to show the history and culture of Tuskegee, and how it was relevant to this event and why African Americans should consider a career in the GEOINT field,” Kantor said. “The three-day event served as a platform for HBCUs to meet, have a shared discussion, and leverage existing capabilities by other HBCUs and other entities like government and industry.”
Photo Credit: Tuskegee 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.