Leaders at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and Gallaudet University signed an education partnership agreement May 24 to increase research, engagement and recruiting opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math.
Vice Adm. Robert Sharp and Gallaudet University President Roberta Cordano signed the EPA during the GeoSpectrum Conference on Gallaudet’s campus, thus formalizing a wider research and engagement relationship.
“Every time we open up the aperture, we become better,” said Sharp, during one the first sessions of the conference, which focused on partnerships and inclusivity.
Sharp said the visual acuity and diversity that the deaf and hard of hearing community brings to the agency fuels innovation.
“We do complex problem solving and we are always looking for diverse perspectives,” said Sharp.
The EPA will aid in the education experience of Gallaudet students and faculty by providing a mechanism by which they can benefit from the staff expertise, unique facilities and equipment available from NGA.
Cordano said that the since its founding more than 150 years ago, Gallaudet University has pushed the boundaries of service.
“Gallaudet challenges the notion of fitness to serve,” she said.
CBS Senior Investigative Reporter Catherine Herridge moderated two of the day’s discussions. In addition to the conversation between Cordano and Sharp, Herridge held a fireside chat with Rita Sampson, chief of equal employment opportunity and diversity within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, about diversity and equity in analysis in the intelligence community.
Sampson praised the new agreement between NGA and Gallaudet and said that bringing different perspectives to the workforce creates “natural red teaming” that tests assumptions and perspectives.
The day wrapped up with a discussion between Sharp and Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, as well as research demos from NGA, Gallaudet University, Howard University and University of Central Missouri.
Schiff stressed the importance of expanding partnerships.
“We in the intelligence committee, and the community, are only as good and as strong as the workforce we can recruit and retain,” he said.