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Mercyhurst Intel student earns coveted USGIF scholarship

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Mercyhurst University senior Margaret Hackney of Hermosa Beach, California, who crossed the country specifically to study intelligence at the Ridge College of Intelligence Studies and Applied Sciences, is among 28 students nationwide to share in a scholarship distribution of more than $126,000 from the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF).

Since 2004, USGIF has distributed $1.2 million in scholarships to qualified students with aspirations in geospatial intelligence (GEOINT); this year’s distribution represents the highest ever.

Hackney, who double majors in intelligence studies and political science, is also pursuing a minor in religious studies. She has applied her technical and cultural knowledge in three intelligence analyst internships with the Department of Defense and one with the Department of State. In her analytic roles, she leverages geospatial methods to assess national security challenges.

Hackney hopes to use GEOINT to better understand conflicts, threats, and operating environments when she begins full-time employment with the Department of Defense after graduating in May.

“Mercyhurst's Intelligence Studies program has provided me invaluable job training for the field,” said Hackney. “Experience from our program enables Mercyhurst students to excel in entry-level analyst roles even as interns.”

In addition to her studies, Hackney is active at Mercyhurst as president of the National Security Club, project manager for the Mercyhurst Center for Applied Politics, and student coordinator of the Anti-Human Trafficking Intelligence Cell.