As a student-athlete on the Men’s Track & Field team, many would assume that my academic interest would be related to sports or communications, but that’s not the case. Ever since I was 7 years old, I had a passion and fascination for the raw power of mother nature. It is not often that you encounter an adolescent boy who would run to maps and geography books instead of the most recent edition of Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Growing up, I would often find myself hyper-focused on maps, the discovery channel, and national geography. I was habitually the kid who wanted to be spatially aware of my surroundings.
My interest in Human Security and Geospatial Intelligence (HSGI) intensified during three devastating events: the 2011 record-breaking tornado season, Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy (a surreal experience), and Moore, OK EF-5 tornado. By the summer of 2013, I began crafting my life mission in disaster awareness, preparation, management & mitigation.
I joined the HSGI undergraduate program at its inception in January 2020; little did I know how much of an impact the program would make on me. The HSGI curriculum developed and enriched my capabilities within spatial sciences and public policy, while also sparking a passion for international relations.
In my junior year, I participated in the U.S. Department of State INR MapGive internship program under the Virtual Student Federal Services (VSFS) where I showcased all the SSI skills I had developed. We engaged on open-street map platforms to perform edits and additions to remote regions around the world.
At the HSGI program, my practicum partner, Steven Duncan, and I focused on using GEOINT to assess infrastructure insecurities in Elliott City, Maryland. We used this suburban town as a case study to comprehend why historic towns like this posed a substantial flash flood risk.
The completion of my B.S. Human Security and Geospatial Intelligence degree marks the beginning of my life’s mission toward minimizing the overall impact of natural and manmade hazards when they strike. My interest has expanded to homeland security and I plan on pursuing a graduate degree in a related field. In the meantime, I will be finishing up my athletic stint on the track & field team here at USC and will be pursuing an internship in disaster management, possibly in Hawaii.