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NGA employees Frances Lacagnina, Alexis Truitt, Rachel Bernstein, Matthew Klaric and Hakjae Kim (Left to right) receive the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) July 25 during an award ceremony in Washington, D.C. Photo provided by Rachel Bernstein.

5 NGA employees among recipients of the PECASE

 Aug. 14, 2019

 Kristina Randall
 National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

Frances Lacagnina, Elizabeth “Rachel” Bernstein, Matthew Klaric, Alexis Truitt and Hakjae Kim of NGA's research office received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers July 25. President Donald Trump recognized them for their exceptional research careers and promise for leadership in science. This year’s award honored those who were nominated in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Lacagnina of Research’s Spectral Pod was nominated for her work as the lead scientist on specific spectral band detection. Her innovative techniques allowed the IC to analyze the ways and means of remote detection of that spectral band more accurately, at a fraction of the cost of previous experimental approaches. Her strong commitment to community service, such as leading the Council of Research Employees was also a vital portion of her nomination.

Bernstein of Research’s Environment and Culture Pod, was nominated for her work on patterns of accessibility in the Arctic Ocean and work supporting IC Arctic working groups. She was also recognized for her efforts to mentor the next generation of scientists.

Matthew Klaric, who is currently on joint duty assignment to the Office of the Secretary of Defense Strategic Capabilities Office, was recognized for his work with machine learning and artificial intelligence. He constructed the plan and secured the funding for a large-scale computer vision artificial intelligence project, which helps NGA maintain our strategic advantage in target recognition.

Truitt of Research’s Space Pod was recognized for her work with satellite imagery operations that directly support high-priority intelligence issues related to ensuring US power projection and freedom of access in an increasingly complex space environment. She was also recognized as a strong STEM career advocate among DC area high school students.

Kim, a former NGA employee, was recognized for his multi-disciplinary subject matter expertise in analytic modeling. He conceptualized, managed and transitioned new technologies that directly impacted NGA’s strategic missions. He was also recognized for mentoring junior and visiting scientists.

These employees are not the first from NGA to win this prestigious award. Four other members of Team NGA previously won PECASE awards between 2012 and 2014.