Harris-Stowe State University (HSSU), in collaboration with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), is hosting a group of undergraduate students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) for a month-long HBCU GEOINT Undergraduate Research Experience Summer Immersion Program in St. Louis.


The program – which began on June 6 and will end on June 30 – aims to develop geospatial intelligence interest and skills in students from the nation’s HBCUs.


“The goal of the program is to ‘immerse’ students in GEOINT,” said Freddie Wills, Ph.D., HSSU vice president for STEM initiatives and research partnerships, in a press release. “We want to show that GEOINT and geospatial technologies are developed for, and can be used in, so many applications to address some of society’s greatest challenges. There is no one path into careers in the geospatial industry.”


During the program, experts in geospatial science from HSSU, NGA, and others in the St. Louis geospatial community will lead discussions with students about geospatial topics and careers and work with students to develop geospatial skills and solutions to societal challenges. Focus topic areas include analyzing geospatial data and satellite imagery, applying geospatial tools to real-world problems, developing and pitching proposals to address GEOINT-related challenges, and navigating geospatial internships and careers.


In addition, the program will introduce students, many of who are not from the St. Louis area, to the St. Louis geospatial ecosystem, Wills said.


“We want the students to see what St. Louis has to offer,” he said. “More specifically, we want to expose students to the geospatial ecosystem in St. Louis and advance their skill sets in geospatial technologies and applications.”


This program, Wills added, is one way HSSU is supporting the development of a talented and diverse pipeline of geospatial scientists who are ready to advance the GEOINT tradecraft and expertise in St. Louis.


HSSU worked closely with NGA to develop the program curriculum and NGA intelligence questions students will work on during the program, said Jessie Bleile, NGA visiting professor at HSSU. Students will also be introduced to NGA’s college internship program, Bleile said.


“The hope is that all of the students who participate continue in the geospatial industry next summer, whether at NGA or a partner organization or university,” Bleile said.


The program will end with a graduation ceremony on June 30.

Read More About
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk State and Local Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.