USGIF Announces 2017 Scholarship Recipients

Foundation awards $117,000 in annual scholarships 

Herndon, Virginia, Sep 20, 2017 — The United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) awarded $117,000 in scholarship funds to students studying the geospatial sciences and related disciplines.

The annual USGIF Scholarship Program recognizes the achievements of graduating high school seniors as well as undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students. The program’s goal is to further the advancement of the geospatial tradecraft.

USGIF awarded 26 scholarships this year to six high school seniors, six undergraduate students, 10 graduate students, and four doctoral candidates. The Foundation also awarded the Ken Miller Scholarship for Advanced Remote Sensing Applications for the second year. This $10,000 scholarship is provided in partnership with USGIF Organizational Member Riverside Research. The Ken Miller Scholarship is presented to a master’s degree candidate studying remote sensing who plans to enter the defense, intelligence, or homeland security workforce.

Since the USGIF Scholarship Program began in 2004, the Foundation has awarded more than $1.1 million in funds to students with aspirations in GEOINT.

“This year we had a very competitive and highly deserving group of students apply for USGIF scholarships,” said USGIF Director of Academic Programs Dr. Camelia Kantor. “They came from diverse backgrounds and have already demonstrated success through academic course work and numerous extracurricular activities. Their studies have prepared them to tackle many geospatial issues after graduation. Many recipients have also mastered critical languages and have intercultural or cross-cultural competencies acquired in both domestic and international environments.”          

The 2017 USGIF scholarship awardees are:

Ken Miller Scholarship for Advanced Remote Sensing Applications

  • Andrew Knight, University of Georgia


  • Michael Brady, Rutgers University,
  • Carolyn Fish, Pennsylvania State University*
  • Cara Murphy, Rochester Institute of Technology
  • James Walker, University of California, Los Angeles


  • Roxanne Ahmadi, Pennsylvania State University*
  • Colin Bunker, Ohio State University
  • Courtney Connor, Middlebury Institute of International Studies
  • Jace Ebben, Pennsylvania State University*
  • Linnea Johnson, George Washington University
  • Phil McTigue, Northeastern University*
  • Travis Meyer, Pennsylvania State University*
  • Andrew Ryan, George Mason University*
  • Jesse Sprague, University of New Mexico


  • Luke DeJong, American Military University
  • Norman Dela Fuente, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Daniel Gurley, James Madison University*
  • Erin Manth, Mercyhurst University
  • Emma McFee, University of Utah*
  • Elijah Staple, University of Colorado Boulder

Graduating High School Seniors

  • Robert Cordts, South Lakes High School in Reston, Va.; now attending James Madison University*
  • Caitlin Gormley, Sayville High School in West Sayville, N.Y.; now attending the University of Toronto
  • Lily Jenkins, Molokai High School in Kaunakakai, Hawaii; now attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Haley King, Tuscarora High School in Leesburg, Va.; now attending George Mason University*
  • Joshua Orteza, Westside High School in Jacksonville, Fla.; now attending the University of Florida
  • Timothy Vrakas, Brookfield East High School in Brookfield, Wis.; now attending Stanford University

*These institutions are accredited by USGIF to award GEOINT Certificates along with their degree programs.

This year’s recipients represent a variety of academic disciplines to include geography, imaging science, data science, homeland security, computer science, electrical and computer engineering, emergency management, and intelligence studies.

“While the collegiate scholars represent the talented, highly knowledgeable innovators who contribute to the advancement of geospatial research, the high school applicants wowed the committee through their determination, quality of work, breadth of knowledge, and diversity of practical experiences involving geospatial work,” Kantor said. “It is impressive to read about their advanced research projects conducted in between volunteer work, playing musical instruments or sports, or conquering personal challenges. I am humbled by the accomplishments of these individuals and reassured that the future of GEOINT is in good hands.”

Additionally, earlier this year at its GEOINT Symposium, USGIF announced the creation of the K. Stuart Shea USGIF Endowed Scholarship. The scholarship honors K. Stuart Shea, one of the founders of USGIF and the first chief executive and chairman of the organization, and will be awarded annually to Ph.D. students studying cartography, geography, or imaging science. This endowed scholarship will be awarded for the first time in 2018.

Learn more about the scholarship program at via the USGIF website.


USGIF is a nonprofit educational foundation dedicated to promoting the geospatial intelligence tradecraft and developing a stronger GEOINT Community with government, industry, academia, professional organizations, and individuals who develop and apply geospatial intelligence to address national security challenges. USGIF achieves its mission via its strategic pillars: Build the Community | Advance the Tradecraft | Accelerate Innovation.

For more information, please visit and follow USGIF on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.


Kristin Quinn

Editorial Director

United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation


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