GeoFutures – the initiative of Greater St. Louis, Inc. working to advance St. Louis’ geospatial technology sector – announced today that Lillian Nix, a junior at Lindenwood University studying environmental science, is the winner of its first scholarship, funded through the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation. 

In addition to GeoFutures, St. Louis geospatial partners the Globe Building and Westway Services Group have also funded scholarships through USGIF that will support St. Louis geospatial students as they further their studies in geospatial fields. 

“As we continue to establish St. Louis as the global center for geospatial technology, we are laser-focused on scaling up talent. These scholarships underscore the importance of investing in the next generation of geospatial leaders, and GeoFutures is excited to help make this happen,” said Andy Dearing, project lead for GeoFutures. “We want to congratulate Lillian Nix as the winner of the GeoFutures STL scholarship as well as Eric Richmond and Rick Yocius for receiving scholarships from the Globe Building and Westway, respectively. These three scholarship winners show how the future of geospatial is STLMade.”

  • The GeoFutures STL Scholarship is a $10,000 annual scholarship awarded to an undergraduate student in a certificate program or at a trade or vocational school. They must be studying geospatial or a related field and study or plan to study at a St. Louis region institution.
  • The Globe Building St. Louis Scholarship is a $5,000 annual scholarship for one St. Louis area resident studying geospatial or a related field. The Globe Building is a historic structure in downtown St. Louis with long ties to the GEOINT community that now houses many geospatial organizations.
  • The Westway Scholarship for Veterans is a $5,000 annual scholarship that will be awarded to one veteran studying geospatial or a related field. This is USGIF’s first scholarship focused solely on the veteran community. Westway, a secure facilities developer, recently opened a SCIF in the Globe Building.

“Through USGIF’s scholarship program, we are able to achieve our mission as an educational foundation in a meaningful and tangible way,” said Ronda Schrenk, USGIF CEO. “With the support of member organizations like Greater St. Louis, Inc., the Globe Building, and Westway Services Group, LLC., we are thrilled to expand our dedication to St. Louis and veteran communities and continue supporting the next generation of GEOINT.”


GeoFutures STL Scholarship
Headshot of Lilian Nix
Lilian Nix

Lillian Nix is a junior at Lindenwood University, where she is working towards a bachelor's degree in environmental science. Having already taken multiple GIS courses and participating in a summer internship with the City of St. Charles GIS department, Lillian will acquire her certification in GIS by the end of 2023. Lillian strives to combine her passion for environmental protection and sustainability with geospatial intelligence, a multidisciplinary approach to solving human security. She hopes to contribute to environmental protection by analyzing patterns and disturbances of the Earth's geography. These disturbances could be national security concerns such as natural disasters, deforestation, and climate change.

“I was sitting at my kitchen table when I received the email that I had been awarded the GeoFutures STL Scholarship and immediately burst into tears. This scholarship means so much to me because I will be able to continue my educational journey at Lindenwood University. I want to especially thank my GIS instructor, Tara Vansell, who sent me the scholarship information and introduced me to the world of Geographic Information Systems. This year we will be working on furthering my academic research project as I have been invited to present at the May 2024 GEOINT symposium.”

Globe Building St. Louis Scholarship
Headshot of Eric Richmond
Eric Richmond

Eric Richmond is studying Geographic Information Systems at Saint Louis University. He has focused on a variety of skills and interests that apply to the geospatial world throughout his education. What began as a focus on human and economic geography, with an emphasis on areas of the developing world, eventually transitioned into the development of technical skills during his undergraduate program. From creating maps and performing spatial analyses to computer programming and remote sensing, Eric has enjoyed the rich intersection of technical experience and human outcomes during his education. Currently, his geospatial interests are primarily concentrated in the GEOINT field, specifically the application of remote sensing and big data analyses.

“I truly appreciate being awarded this scholarship. Being able to utilize the funds for room and board and other educational and living expenses gives me the opportunity to focus my mind and attention more on my current sentiment analysis project. With how difficult it can be to find affordable rent, this money will go a long way to ensuring I am in a secure position for the next semester and beyond. Besides the financial benefits of receiving this award, the opportunity to say I've been a recipient of the USGIF scholarship carries weight on NGA internship applications, which is a future goal of mine. Overall, I am extremely grateful and will apply myself in order to achieve as much as I can in the coming year while finishing my GIS master's degree.”

Westway Scholarship for Veterans
Headshot of Rick Yocius
Rick Yocius

Rick Yocius started his educational and professional career by enlisting in the U.S. Army in 2009 as an Arabic Cryptologic Language Analyst. There he learned the power of leveraging multiple Intelligence disciplines to meet mission objectives. Rick deployed twice to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to lead tactical intelligence collection teams, ultimately earning the Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart. Rick now works as a Systems Engineer and Intelligence SME for the Army's Intelligence and Electronic Warfare Tactical Proficiency Trainer to create a fused simulation environment enabling individual, crew, and collective training for Army GEOINT and other Intelligence Soldiers.

“Winning the USGIF Westway Scholarship for Veterans will greatly help in finishing my Master of Science degree in Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning (AI/ML). AI/ML is a field recognized as being crucial to national defense and a subject of interest within the Intelligence Community. This scholarship provides me the ability to focus on research and the application of AI/ML to difficult problems related to training GEOINT and Electromagnetic Warfare using modeling & simulation."