About 40 students from four Florida-based Hispanic-serving institutions visited NGA’s Springfield, Virginia, campus March 14 to learn about opportunities in various career fields prominent in the agency, including science, technology, engineering and math.
The visit was sponsored by Source’s Technical Executive Office and included Florida International University, Broward College, Florida Memorial University and Miami-Dade College.
These schools are considered Hispanic-serving institutions because 25 percent or more of the total undergraduate students are Hispanic, enrolled full time in an accredited institution.
The visit was a part of the Intelligence Community Centers for Academic Excellence Consortium. IC CAE is a one-year intelligence community workforce development program that focuses on mentorship, research experience and professional development to strengthen the students’ job prospective with the IC.
“This program is really important,” said Michael Vazquez, FIU graduate and imagery analyst in the Afghanistan Eastern Military Forces branch. “Specifically, from the Latin community perspective, we just don’t see ourselves incorporated into these (national security and defense job) fields, and it comes down to awareness. This (program) helps involve our community and pass on information.”
NGA employees who are FIU alumni and co-leader of NGA’s Hispanic Advisory Council shared their experiences with the students.
“It is up to us, to take advantage of the opportunities available (within the IC),” said Anny Garcia, member of NGA’s HAC and budget analyst in the Financial Management Directorate. “Being on the Hispanic Advisory Council is an honor and way to give back to my community.”
FIU students briefed the panelist on Iranian regional influence, genome editing using CRISPER, China Belt and Road initiative for Latin America, U.S. space policy, leadership challenges and space economy.
China’s Belt and Road initiative is a development strategy adopted by the Chinese government to improve economic and regional power across Europe, Asia, and to South America.
“This is the first time these students can build their network and tap into those in the community,” said Vazquez. “It is important for them to get this experience.”
Chicago State University is scheduled to be the next IC CAE institution to visit on March 19.