Farnsworth receives 2017 Michael P. Murphy Award in Geospatial Intelligence

Robert J. Farnsworth, a retired U.S. Army reconnaissance engineer and Penn State alumnus, was selected to receive the 2017 Lt. Michael P. Murphy Award in Geospatial Intelligence. He was honored during the 2017 United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) Symposium in San Antonio on June 5.

Farnsworth was presented with the award by Keith J. Masback, CEO of USGIF; Nancy S. Coleman, vice president of corporate communications at DigitalGlobe; and Todd S. Bacastow, geospatial intelligence faculty member with the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences’ John A. Dutton e-Education Institute.

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 of Penn State’s geospatial intelligence program who has served in the U.S. Armed Forces or with the geospatial intelligence community and demonstrated exceptional contributions to the discipline.

“It’s truly an honor to be considered for the award. To have my GEOINT work distinguished with a  notable award that commemorates Lt. Michael Murphy’s life and heroic actions is truly humbling,” said Farnsworth, who earned a master’s degree in homeland security as well as a graduate certificate in geospatial intelligence analytics through Penn State World Campus.

After serving for 11 years as a reconnaissance engineer for the U.S. Army, Farnsworth worked as a human geographer for Boeing. From there, he worked multiple positions as a human geographer, business developer and senior consultant before landing his current job as a geospatial data manager at KEYW Corporation in 2015, the same year that he enrolled at Penn State.

Farnsworth also earned a bachelor of science in geospatial sciences from Missouri State University in 2006. He co-authored the 2016 and 2017 State of Geospatial Intelligence Reports, and he is heavily involved with the USGIF.

“Robert Farnsworth is singular in his achievements,” said Bacastow. “His understanding and applications of geospatial intelligence in defense of our country are outstanding and important. He also experienced some obstacles on his educational journey. He is a Wounded Warrior and went through recovery and rehabilitation while completing his degree. You have to admire him for sticking with it and continuing on to where he is today. Robert is a true example of the ‘new greatest generation.’ ”

The 2017 Lt. Michael P. Murphy Award in Geospatial Intelligence was also awarded to Lt. Drew Cavanagh, a U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant and current student pursuing a master’s degree in homeland security through Penn State World Campus. He is expected to graduate in August 2017 and will be recognized during Penn State’s Military Appreciation Day on November 11, 2017.

The Lt. Michael P. Murphy Award in Geospatial Intelligence is sponsored by the DigitalGlobe Foundation; USGIF; Todd and 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.

Lt. Michael P. Murphy is honored by the Penn State Veterans Plaza, a gift of the Class of 2011 located on the patio of Old Main, on the University Park campus. It was created to honor all Penn State veterans, and the plaza's curved wall is specifically named to recognize Lt. Murphy, a member of the class of 1998 and the first University alumnus to be awarded the Medal of Honor. A Navy Seal, Lt. Murphy received this singular distinction posthumously for his courageous actions in 2005 during the war in Afghanistan.

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Last Updated July 25, 2017