2013 USGIF Scholarship Winners

Meet the 2013 USGIF Scholarship winners


USGIF awards scholarships annually to promising high school seniors, as well as collegiate undergraduates, graduates, and doctoral students studying or planning to study the geospatial sciences or a related field.

All scholarship recipients are chosen on academic and professional excellence. Qualified candidates are selected by the Foundation’s Scholarship Subcommittee, which is composed of representatives from USGIF Member Organizations.

To date, USGIF has awarded $691,000 in scholarship funds to exceptional students. This year, USGIF awarded $107,000 to 25 recipients.

Here are this year’s scholarship winners:


doctorate1G. Paul Bailey
University of Colorado

Paul has worked in the areas of systems analysis, product integration, project management, and business development for Esri, Global Water, Hitachi, and Tektronix. He also worked with MCR Technology in Saudi Arabia. Paul holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental design and a master’s degree in urban and regional planning. He is pursuing a Ph.D. in geography with a research focus on leveraging mobile, crowd-sourced, geo-referenced data for strategic decision support.

doctorate2Sergio Bernardes
University of Georgia

Sergio received his master’s degree in remote sensing from the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research. His primary research involves innovative analyses of large data sets, including time series of remotely sensed images, ground-based climate data, and derived metrics to assess vegetation responses to natural and anthropogenic environmental changes. Sergio is pursuing his Ph.D. in geography as well as a certification in geographic information science.

doctorate3Crystal English
San Diego State University/University of California, Santa Barbara

Crystal’s research focuses on the development multi-attribute, geospatial, and temporal data models to assess neighborhood vulnerability. She holds a master’s degree in GIS from California State University, Northridge, where she was a scholar in the Intelligence Community Centers for Academic Excellence. Crystal also holds a California Department of Justice certification in crime and intelligence analysis.

doctorate4Abby Frazier
University of Hawaii at Mānoa

Abby is a Ph.D. student specializing in climatology in the department of geography. She earned her master’s degree at the University of Hawaii, and received her B.A. in geography and B.S. in mathematics at the University of Vermont. Abby is interested in research areas that fuse climatology with geospatial technology, and has focused her work on analyzing spatial patterns of rainfall in Hawaii using geostatistics and global scale spatial analyses of climate change.

doctorate5Thomas Gertin
George Mason University

Tom holds a master’s degree in geoinformatics and geospatial intelligence from George Mason University. His thesis involved maximizing the cost of shortest paths between facilities. Tom’s interests include location science, micro-geography, forecasting trends, geospatial data modeling, and recommender systems. He would like to start his own business involving geospatial intelligence and technology.

doctorate6Tammy E. Parece
Virginia Tech

Tammy’s dissertation develops a geospatial model to optimally site urban agriculture while simultaneously addressing environmental issues and social problems. She is active in geospatial outreach and instruction for middle school students, as well as for high school and community college teachers. Tammy has served as a teaching assistant for six GIS and remote sensing courses. Her professional goals include teaching geospatial analysis and geography courses at the university level.


masters1Steve Chignell
Colorado State University

Steve is a master’s degree student in watershed science, and is researching the use of GIS, remote sensing, and statistical modeling for mapping the extent of headwater regions in the face of climate change and urbanization. He is interested in the utility of geospatial technology and participatory mapping techniques for increasing the long-term sustainability of water and sanitation projects in developing nations.

masters2Thomas Davis
Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi

While majoring in geospatial surveying engineering, Thomas works for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New Orleans District in its survey and geospatial engineering sections. His primary area of interest focuses on the integration of UAVs into the National Airspace. Thomas has worked with both his university and the Army Corps of Engineers using UAVs as a platform to perform coastal erosion and emergency-response mapping.

masters3Grant DeLozier
University of Oklahoma

Grant graduated with dual bachelor’s degrees in geographic information science and political science from the University of Oklahoma. Carrying over his research to graduate school, Grant is looking at problems related to resolving toponyms, or place-names, in natural language. His thesis aims to resolve toponyms in much more varied and complex linguistic environments. Grant is pursuing his master’s degree in computational linguistics.

masters4Justin Fung
Columbia University

Justin recently received his master’s degree in operations research from the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Columbia University. He is a project coordinator with The Earth Institute, researching spatial decision support systems (SDSS) to combat urban climate change risks in India, and will be directing a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to create an emergency evacuation SDSS for the New York City Office of Emergency Management.

masters5Shane Grigsby
University of California, Santa Barbara

Shane graduated from the University of Colorado with a B.A. in philosophy and geography, and is currently pursuing an advanced degree. His research interests include spatial indexing, machine learning, and remote sensing. While his scientific focus primarily concerns the terrestrial biosphere, Shane’s geospatial focus is in processing large, unstructured data sets into meaningful groups of objects that can be aggregated into populations.

masters6Matthew MacDonald
Northwest Missouri State University

Matt’s professional career is in geospatial information sciences and geospatial intelligence working with government agencies, industry-leading private sector companies, and GIS research centers involved with GEOINT solutions for national security and environmental sciences. Matt graduated with a bachelor’s degree in geography with an emphasis in GIS from the University of Missouri, is certified in GEOINT and GIS, and is pursuing his master’s degree in GIS.

masters7Thomas Muscolo
MIT Sloan School of Management

Tom is pursuing an MBA focused on business strategy, operations, and entrepreneurship. He previously spent three years at L-3 Integrated Optical Systems, SSG as a mechanical engineer. Tom is interested in applying commercial technologies and manufacturing practices to the next generation of intelligence-gathering satellite payloads. Prior to joining L-3, Tom earned a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Northeastern University.

masters8Jakeb Prickett
University of Arizona

Jakeb served nine years in the National Guard as an imagery analyst and all source intelligence analyst. Upon completion of his service, Jakeb attended the University of Oregon and received his bachelor’s of science degree in geography with a focus on GIS. He completed an internship at the NASA Langley Research Center. His research interests include remote sensing for natural disaster support and spatial analysis.

masters9Richard “Mike” Rodriguez
George Mason University

Mike is currently pursuing a master’s degree in geoinformatics and geospatial intelligence while serving in a graduate internship for NGA. His academic interests are in social media and open source geospatial intelligence. Mike is a U.S. Army Veteran, native of New Mexico, and plans to graduate in May 2014.


undergrad1Patricia Burros
Texas State University, San Marcos

Patricia has worked with the Edwards Aquifer Protection Program within the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to create layers, maps, and a geo-database for its program. This experience provided Patricia with excitement for the possibilities this field can offer her future. Patricia’s major is water resources, and her minor is geology.

undergrad2Anna Kalinowski
University of Missouri

Anna is pursuing a degree in electrical engineering with minors in computer science and mathematics. She conducts undergraduate research at MU’s Center for Geospatial Intelligence and has interned with NGA, where she had the opportunity to apply her engineering skills to the area of national security. Someday, Anna hopes to hold a position of leadership at NGA.

undergrad3Briana Neuberger
Rochester Institute of Technology

Briana is pursuing degrees in imaging science and industrial/systems engineering at RIT. During high school, she competed in a GIS challenge with the assistance of a local community college professor. Since then, she has discovered a broader range of opportunities in this field and has been introduced to a wide array of professionals in the industry.

undergrad4Tanya Petach
Harvard University

Tanya is a junior studying earth and planetary sciences and environmental engineering at Harvard University. She enjoys working with a team, mapping the geology in Death Valley and Outer Mongolia. The research projects combine fieldwork with GIS representations of ground units, subsurface geology, and three-dimensional representations of Earth systems.


hs1Alayna Bigalbal
Heritage High School, Leesburg, VA
Now attending George Mason University

Alayna received the William & Mary Leadership Award and the Loudoun Times’ Student Athlete of the year recognition. She attends George Mason University as an honors student and athlete. Alayna plans to pursue a career in civil engineering, and hopes to continue using GIS to create, manage, and analyze data associated with developing and managing infrastructure around the world.

hs2Chandler Burke
St. Mark’s School of Texas, Dallas, Texas
Now attending Rice University

Chandler interned at the University of Texas at Dallas, where he researched the effects and possible treatment for traumatic brain injuries in rats. As a trustee-distinguished scholar and National Merit finalist, Chandler attends Rice University and intends to pursue a degree in engineering or computer science.

hs3Robert Weston Gaddis
Homeschooled, Riverton, UT
Now attending Missouri State University

During Robert’s junior and senior year in high school, he enrolled in Salt Lake Community College. He graduated with an associate’s degree and several geospatial classes under his belt. Robert attends Missouri State University where he majors in geospatial sciences. His career goal is to enter the Intelligence field, specifically at NGA.

hs4Jason Moeder
Bowie High School, Bowie, MD
Now attending University of Maryland, College Park

Jason attends the University of Maryland, College Park and majors in geographic information systems. He intends to apply for an internship at NGA, as well as with contractors working closely with the agency. Once Jason obtains a degree in this field, he hopes to join NGA and pursue a career in the GEOINT Community.

hs5Rachel Taylor
West Springfield High School, Springfield, VA
Now attending Brigham Young University

Rachel attends Brigham Young University where she plans to major in astro-physics with a minor in geospatial information systems. Her love for geospatial technologies began in a high school geosystems class, which her to pursue a career in the discipline. Her interests include satellite-based geospatial technologies, education, and outdoor high-adventure activities.

hs6Louis Werts III
Tuscarora High School, Leesburg, VA
Now attending College of William and Mary

In addition to graduating from Tuscarora High School, Louis completed schooling at the Loudoun Academy of Science. While attending, he researched nano-satellites and gained a better understanding of systems engineering, project management, and geospatial intelligence. Louis plans to take this knowledge with him to the College of William and Mary where he will major in either math or physics.

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