Penn State Student Recognized with Lt. Michael P. Murphy Award

Penn State Student Recognized with Lt. Michael P. Murphy Award

June 5, 2019

Tuesday afternoon at USGIF’s GEOINT 2019 Symposium, the 2019 Lt. Michael P. Murphy Award in Geospatial Intelligence was awarded to Capt. Katherine Meckler of the U.S. Air Force.

Meckler is from Mechanicsburg, Penn., and completed her undergraduate degree at Penn State, where she also received an Air Force commission through the U.S. ROTC program. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in geographic information systems at Penn State while stationed at Naval Air Station Pensacola, where she serves as an Electronic Warfare Officer with more than 1,300 flight hours on the RC-135U COMBAT SENT.

“Until I began studying GEOINT with Penn State, I did not realize just how essential it was to nearly every stage of my mission,” Meckler said. “I rely on GEOINT for mission planning, pre-mission briefs, mission execution, and post-mission analysis to provide situational awareness, operational expertise, and context to my collected strategic electronic reconnaissance information. Without GEOINT, I would be left to execute the mission in the blind, and my collected information would be meaningless to the warfighters. GEOINT achieves for my mission what every other ‘INT’ cannot—it provides a powerful frame of reference with which to easily digest complex life-or-death ones and zeros.”

The award was presented to Meckler by Director of the U.S. Army Geospatial Center Gary W. Blohm along with Ronda Schrenk, vice president of programs at USGIF.

The Murphy Award is named for Navy SEAL Lt. Michael P. Murphy, a distinguished Penn State alumnus. Murphy was killed June 28, 2005, by enemy forces during a reconnaissance mission in Afghanistan. For his selfless leadership and courageous actions, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. The Murphy Award recognizes achievement by a Penn State graduate who is serving or has served in the U.S. Armed Forces or Intelligence Community. Recipients are chosen based upon demonstration of exceptional contributions to the GEOINT discipline.

The generosity of USGIF, Maxar, and faculty, staff, and friends of Penn State contributed to endowing the Murphy Award.

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