Human rights advocate is recipient of Murphy Award

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Angela Chang, a human rights advocate with Amnesty International and a student in the Penn State online master’s degree program in Geographic Information Systems, Geospatial Intelligence option, was the 2014 recipient of the Lt. Michael P. Murphy Award. Chang was unable to attend the 2014 U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) Symposium, where the award is usually presented; therefore, she was presented with the award at the Department of Geography’s Coffee Hour weekly lecture on Nov. 13.

“Angie is an outstanding student across the board. It’s hard not to be inspired by her drive to rethink the ways in which geospatial systems and methods are applied in humanitarian contexts. I think she is a perfect example of the kind of engaged scholar we hope to develop in our online programs,” said nominator Anthony C. Robinson, assistant professor of geography and lead faculty for online geospatial education programs.

Named in honor of Lt. Michael P. Murphy, a Medal of Honor recipient and distinguished Penn State alumnus, the award recognizes achievement by a graduate student in Penn State’s geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) program who has served in the U.S. military or with the geospatial intelligence community and demonstrated exceptional contributions to the discipline.

Chang has a bachelor’s degree in international relations from the University of California, Davis. Following graduation, she joined the staff of Amnesty International USA in a variety of roles advocating on behalf of human rights. Since 2012, she has been managing concurrent research projects incorporating the use of geospatial intelligence methods to monitor and document human rights abuses in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The findings have been used to corroborate witness testimony and have helped influence U.S. government policies in these areas.  

 “At first glance for many, it might seem like we are coming from very opposite ends of the spectrum, but at the end of the day, human rights and national security are not, and should not, be mutually exclusive. I believe that GEOINT can very much be the bridge in building a stronger narrative between the two disciplines and I look forward to contributing to that effort,” Chang said. “I am truly humbled to receive this award, and will endeavor to continue my work with the same spirit of leadership, courage and humility exemplified by Lt. Murphy, and embodied by this award.”  

The Lt. Michael P. Murphy Award is sponsored by the Digital Globe Foundation; United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation; Todd Bacastow, professor of practice for geospatial intelligence in Penn State's John A. Dutton e-Education Institute and his wife, Barbara Bacastow; Alan W. Scaroni, dean emeritus of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences; and Richard DiEugenio, former special assistant to the president for governmental affairs in Penn State’s Office of Governmental Affairs.

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Last Updated November 16, 2015