USC

SSI Students Win U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation Scholarships

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Kevin Mercy and Jong Su Kim receive top awards

Kevin Mercy Jong Su Kim 2019 GEOINTegration

Kevin Mercy (left) and Jong Su Kim (right) represented the USC Spatial Sciences Institute as USGIF scholarship recipients at the 2019 GEOINTegration Summit presented by the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation.

The United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) has announced that two students from the University of Southern California (USC) Spatial Sciences Institute (SSI) have won USGIF scholarships for the 2019-2020 academic year.

SSI’s Kevin Mercy received this year’s $10,000 Reinventing Geospatial Inc. (RGi) Scholarship for Geospatial and Engineering. An independent panel of GEOINT Community professionals undertook a multi-tiered review of the applications to select a recipient who is an undergraduate student who has an interest in both engineering and geospatial disciplines and also demonstrates financial need.

This highly competitive scholarship provides $10,000 that can be used to support a variety of education and/or research expenses related to tuition, room and board, and certain school supplies, such as a computer purchase.

Mercy is a co-author of the article “A Lightweight, Robust Exploitation System for Temporal Stacks of UAS Data: Use Case for Forward-Deployed Military or Emergency Responders”  developed in SSI’s Human Security and Geospatial Intelligence Lab under the direction of Andrew J. Marx, associate professor of the practice of spatial sciences with SSI and the USC Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT). That article was published in March 2019 in Drones. Mercy previously was selected by USGIF to participate in its young professional “Golden Ticket” program and served as a student assistant at the 2018 USGIF GEOINT Symposium in Tampa, Florida.

He is a candidate to receive his B.A. in Interdisciplinary Archaeology with a minor in Human Security and Geospatial Intelligence and a minor in computer programming concurrently with USC’s online M.S. in Geographic Information Science and Technology in May 2020 under USC’s progressive degree option.

SSI’s Jong Su Kim was awarded a $5,000 USGIF Graduate Scholarship, which can be applied towards education and/or research expenses. He is a co-author of “Detecting Village Burnings with High-Cadence SmallSats: a case-study in the Rakhine State of Myanmar”, another article that was developed in SSI’s Human Security and Geospatial Intelligence Lab under the direction of Dr. Marx. That article was published in April 2019 in Remote Sensing Applications: Society and Environment.  

Kim served as a student assistant for Esri’s 2019 Esri Federal GIS Conference in Washington, D.C. and also for USGIF at its 2018 GEOINT Symposium in Tampa, Florida. He is a cadet in the U.S. Air Force ROTC program. Kim will receive his B.A. in International Relations concurrently with USC’s online M.S. in Human Security and Geospatial Intelligence in May 2020 under USC’s progressive degree option.

Kevin Mercy speaking 2019 GEOINTegration

SSI’s Kevin Mercy (right) spoke on “What Brought You to GEOINT?” at the 2019 USGIF GEOINTegration Summit in Herndon, Virginia.

As scholarship winners, Mercy and Kim had took advantage of the opportunity to speak at the USGIF GEOINTegration Summit held on September 27-28, 2019 in Herndon, Virginia. In addition, USGIF is providing Mercy and Kim as scholarship winners with complimentary registrations to its 2020 GEOINT Symposium that returns to Tampa, Florida in April 2020.

In reflecting upon his scholarship award, Mercy said, “I want to thank all those from the Spatial Sciences Institute for encouraging me to put my name into the hat and assisting me with the application process. I am beyond thankful for the help and support that everyone with SSI continues to provide me throughout my university studies and also to USGIF for this generous support.”

Kim also expressed thanks to the Spatial Sciences Institute and to USGIF. He said, “I truly wouldn't have been able to win this without the strong mentorship and support of Professors Steve Fleming and Andrew Marx. I had the fortune of interning in the intelligence community this summer and am amazed at the relevance of our research at the HSGI Lab. Truly, my experience in the lab is a gift that keeps on giving. I am extremely grateful for all the opportunities I've had to learn and develop, all thanks to the resources at SSI and its close association with USGIF.”

“We are extremely proud of both of these individuals,” said COL [R] Steven D. Fleming, professor of the practice of spatial sciences with SSI and ICT. “All of us at SSI applaud their work, their talents, their passion, and, ultimately, their successes. We also acknowledge the tremendous opportunities that USGIF provides to students and young professionals to foster their career paths in GEOINT.”

For more information about the undergraduate and master’s programs offered by the Spatial Sciences Institute in human security and geospatial intelligence, please visit spatial.usc.edu and contact COL [R] Fleming at s.fleming@usc.edu.

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