Meet Sharifa Karwandyar, USGIF Scholarship Winner

One of our 2023 scholarship winners is Sharifa Karwandyar, a recipient of the AWS Scholarship for Inclusive Leadership in GEOINT scholarship award

IMG_3445-1-scaled-e1701195978667

Each year, USGIF offers scholarships to students who demonstrate a passion for geospatial intelligence, geospatial sciences, and related disciplines. This financial assistance supports the rising generation of GEOINT professionals.

One of our 2023 scholarship winners is Sharifa Karwandyar, a recipient of the AWS Scholarship for Inclusive Leadership in GEOINT scholarship award. She currently holds a bachelor’s degree in Physical Geography-Geospatial Analysis and is focusing her master’s research on improving existing landmine and demining techniques.

Tell me a little bit about your research and where you are in school now?

I’m a first-year master’s student at Binghamton University located in Binghamton, New York. I’m doing my master’s thesis on incorporating machine learning and remote sensing imagery, more specifically looking at hyperspectral imaging to detect landmines or unexploded ordinances.

You expressed an interest in your remote sensing classes from your undergraduate education. How have you utilized this in landmine research?

I’ve always had an interest in detecting landmines. I’m ethnically Afghan and I remember growing up, I had family members who were affected by landmines. Landmines remain undetected in Afghanistan, and I’m interested in impactful, actionable science that can help communities by providing ways to safely detect landmines without the loss of life or limb.

How do you think this type of research could be better incorporated into current GEOINT practices?

Many people believe landmines are something of the past, but really, with a lot of the conflicts that are happening now, like in Ukraine, you see a prevalence of landmines. I think right now we have a smaller landmine detection group, it’s not something that’s very well known in the scientific community.

A lot of the emerging technology that we have, or that we’re trying to incorporate, like machine learning, or artificial intelligence, is something that many people are interested in. One of the goals with my research, or what I’m trying to accomplish in my master’s is providing more opportunities for folks that are interested in landmine detection to have a pathway to learn more about it.

I plan on bringing awareness to the issue by publishing my research, collaborating with social scientists, and hopefully include stakeholders in our research approach. So, trying to help bring our science to the broader scientific community.

What does receiving a USGIF scholarship mean to you?

I am very grateful for the financial support but am also very excited about making connections with other researchers. I think it’s fantastic that there are opportunities for students and early career scientists to collaborate and meet, not only in the working groups, but also through conferences or the Symposium that takes place annually. I think this is something that’s definitely a step in the right direction and I’m excited to be meet and collaborate with researchers and scientists within the geospatial intelligence community.

The USGIF scholarship program aims to support and encourage talented individuals who demonstrate a passion for geospatial intelligence, geospatial sciences, and related disciplines. Successful applicants receive financial assistance to pursue their education and achieve their academic goals. Interested in learning more? Visit our website at https://usgif.org/scholarship-program/. Applications for our next round of scholarship awards open in January!

Related Articles

USGIF Announces 2024 Lt. Michael P. Murphy Award Recipient

Congratulations to Christopher Ramos, Founder of Warrior’s Garden Solutions Herndon, Va., (July 3, 2024) – The United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation…

Read More...
USGIF Announces Four New Board Members for 2024

The newly elected board members are: Craig Abod, Patrick Cozzi, Jenny McGee, and Rob Zuppert.    Herndon, Va., (June 26, 2024) The United States Geospatial Inte…

Read More...
USGIF and Black Cape Announce New Recurring Scholarship

Herndon, Va (June 10, 2024) The United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation and Black Cape are pleased to announce a new multi-year scholarship, the Black…

Read More...