Washington College Magazine

Mapping Their Futures

April 12, 2013
Two student employees of Washington College’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) program have won coveted scholarships from the national organization dedicated to promoting the trade and craft of geospatial intelligence, one of today’s hottest fields for college graduates.

The U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation awarded Mariah Perkins ’13 a $5,000 undergraduate scholarship, while Steve McFall ’16 earned a $2,000 scholarship as a graduating high school senior. The honor also came with an invitation to the foundation’s annual GEOINT Symposium, as well as additional mapping software and training.

Perkins and McFall were among 25 winners, from doctoral candidates to high school students, awarded a total of $104,000 in scholarships. Perkins, an anthropology major who’s been abroad studying the indigenous Sami culture of Lapland on a Douglass Cater Society of Junior Fellows grant, says the award “confirmed that my ambitions have been well-placed. It has also provided a chance to broaden my skills. Intergraph, a prominent provider of geospatial software, donated ERDAS IMAGINE and GeoMedia software and training programs to the winners, so I’ve gotten the chance to continue broadening my skillset.” 

Perkins interned this past summer at Booz Allen Hamilton, and the internationally known management and technology consulting firm has already offered her a full-time job.

McFall came to Washington College specifically for its GIS program, but he says the GEOINT Symposium really opened his eyes to the powerful fusion between liberal arts studies and the hands-on learning at the GIS lab. “I didn’t know until after GEOINT that anthropology and computer science is a good combination. [Potential employers] told me to take as broad a range of classes as I can. Which is good, because you can do that here.”

“The key innovators want kids with broad educational backgrounds” as well as technical skills in the GIS realm,” says Stewart Bruce, the College’s GIS program coordinator. “The combination of this great liberal arts education, plus the skills, is giving our kids an edge.”

Last modified on Apr. 12th, 2013 at 12:14pm by Brittany Weaver.