USC Dornsife Spatial Sciences Institute

Q&A with Associate Professor Andrew Marx, Ph.D.

This is a segment of our multi-part series honoring the active service members and veterans who have taken or who teach USC’s Geographic Information Science and Technology graduate programs by allowing them to share some of their most memorable experiences.

For today’s article, we talked with Andrew J. Marx, Ph.D., an associate professor of the practice of spatial sciences at USC and former officer with the U.S. Air Force. Marx has also served as a foreign affairs analyst for the State Department and a research fellow at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Center for the Prevention of Genocide.

To read the other articles in this series, click the following links:

1. How did you get involved with geospatial work in the military?

I worked in GEOINT as an all-source analyst in the U.S. Department of State’s Office of the Geographer. At State, we increasingly used advanced GEOINT approaches to help inform both the day-to-day and strategic formulation of U.S. Foreign Policy.

2. How do you envision the future of GEOINT? How do you think the USC program can help position students for that future?

The future of GEOINT is increasingly computational and analytical, but will also require excellent communication skills as well as the imagination to piece together bits of disparate information. Our program bridges these gaps, producing leaders within teams, interagency working groups, and beyond.

3. Why did you choose to teach in the USC GIST program?

I chose to join USC’s GIST team because they are leading the way in terms of creating the next generation of GEOINT leaders. The administration and the program are geared toward producing the quality of graduate that is difficult to find anywhere else.

Additionally, the number of different areas of expertise represented within the faculty is a significant attraction. I’ve found it very rewarding to work with other people who have extensive knowledge spanning the GEOINT field and spatial sciences.

4. What has been one of your favorite GEOINT projects to work on, either with students in USC’s graduate programs or in your career?

The humanitarian work some of our students are doing with organizations like Human Rights Watch and Physicians for Human Rights is truly remarkable. They’re helping to design satellite-based algorithms for detecting possible human rights violations in multiple countries across the world. This analysis is used to corroborate on-the-ground work by our partner organizations, who interview and examine refugees that flee conflict areas.

I’m continually impressed by the passion our students show for the cutting-edge research they’re learning and by the contributions they make toward reducing human suffering worldwide.

For more information about our support for U.S. service members and veterans, visit our USC Military and Veterans page.

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