My Way to NGA featuring Ichesia Veal
Ichesia Veal, NGA spectral imagery scientist
Q: How did you hear about NGA?
A: I started my career in the intelligence community at the National Ground Intelligence Center as a spectral signatures analyst. While there, NGA's Research Directorate was one of our customers. The spectral imagery scientists at NGA used ground-based, hyperspectral data I collected in their analysis.
Q: When did you become a NGA team member?
A: I joined NGA as a contractor in December 2010 and transitioned to being a government employee in April 2012.
Q: What made you decide to work for NGA?
A: When I was at NGIC, I wanted to learn more about how my customers used the data I collected. So, when I wasn't out in the field, I was learning more about spectral imagery science. I found imagery science interesting and challenging. I decided I wanted to work in the field of imagery science and pursued a job at NGA.
Q: What has been your favorite memory during your time here?
A: NGA works with many higher education institutions and, at times, partners with these institutions as Centers of Academic Excellence. Many of these institutions are invited to NGA to learn about the agency’s mission. Several years ago, I was invited to a CAE meeting with administrators of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the discussion led to ensuring competitiveness of HBCU graduates for employment at NGA and similar agencies. As an HBCU graduate and a scientist that has focused on emerging government and commercial GEOINT capabilities, I was able to provide perspective on skills and experiences that would increase new graduates competitiveness. Afterward, the event coordinator came and thanked me for participating and for the feedback I provided. The participants expressed gratitude at the actionable insight they received. The reason this memory is one of my favorites is because it’s a reminder of the opportunities to make a difference I've been afforded at NGA. While at the agency, I've had numerous opportunities to help my country, but also help my community and future generations.
Q: Do you have any advice for those who are curious about working for NGA?
A: I'd tell anyone curious about working for NGA to make sure to go to the agency's website and visit the agency's social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Youtube). NGA does a great job sharing about the mission, explaining what we do at the agency and the types of skill sets that are most useful. If after you've done some research you decide you are still curious and you already have the proper skill sets, then check out job postings on www.intelligencecareers.gov. The website will let you set notifications for NGA-specific job postings and keep an eye out for NGA virtual career fair announcements. If you don't have the proper skill sets, don't worry. There are numerous opportunities to gain geospatial skills through in-person and online programs and classes. And still keep an eye out for NGA virtual career fairs. The fairs are staffed with recruiters and individuals that work in other parts of the agency. It is a great opportunity to ask questions about the hiring process.