USGIF Announces First-Ever Student Diversity Awards and Best Student Poster Award

Three outstanding students recognized for academic excellence in the geospatial intelligence community

Herndon, Virginia (October 2, 2020) — The United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) awarded three student awards, including two new diversity awards, during the GEOINTegration Summit.

The two new diversity awards, $500 each, were sponsored by Dr. Tim Walton, in honor of his wife, Elizabeth Walton, who passed in 2018 after having served as an analyst at the CIA for more than 30 years. She firmly believed that her education, a BA from Johns Hopkins, and a MA from George Washington were significant to her success. Walton helps carry her legacy through these awards presented to two female students.

Mia Poynor USC

Mia Poynor

Alejandra Rubi Marquez FSU

Alejandra Rubi Marquez

The Most Promising Female GEOINTer Award was presented to Mia Poynor, University of Sothern California. This award recognizes qualities like hard and soft skills, community engagement, and an effort to build a pathway into a GEOINT career for female students. The GEOINT Woman of Color Award was presented to Alejandra Rubi Marquez, Fayetteville State University. This award recognizes a woman of African, Asian (including Asian American, Pacific Islander, Arab or Middle East Asian), Latin American, or American Indian (including African Native American or Alaskan Native) descent that demonstrates excellence in GEOINT skills. Students were selected based on nominations from USGIF accredited schools.

“We want to recognize cultural, gender, and racial diversity among our students. We want to celebrate our transformative society and the synergy needed for effective teamwork and collaboration derived from diverse sources,” said VP of Academic Affairs & Professional Development Camelia Kantor, Ph.D., MBA.

Yinan Wang JHU

Yinan Wang

The 2020 Best Student Poster was also awarded at the GEOINTegration Summit. The recipient for this award was Yinan Wang, Johns Hopkins University for his poster on “Applications of Satellite Imagery in Paleontology.” The award was offered based on a popular vote from Summit attendees via the poster gallery.

“At the end of every academic year, we tend to come together, in person, to recognize those among us for effort, teamwork, perseverance, responsibility, integrity, and many other qualities worth of recognition. We are using every occasion to honor students who, despite COVID-19 related challenges, managed to continue their research,” said Kantor. “Out of chaos comes order, and those who can still be successful in creating knowledge and beauty despite the noise will be the ones pushing the boundaries of creativity during their entire existence. The New Renaissance rests on the shoulders of these creative minds!”

USGIF is a nonprofit educational foundation dedicated to promoting the geospatial intelligence tradecraft and developing a stronger GEOINT Community among government, industry, academia, professional organizations, and individuals who develop and apply geospatial intelligence to address national security challenges. USGIF achieves its mission via its strategic pillars: Build the Community | Advance the Tradecraft | Accelerate Innovation. For more information, please visit and follow USGIF on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.