CIA Recognizes Local Students for Excellence in Science and Technology
June 9, 2011
The Central Intelligence Agency’s Directorate of Science and Technology hosted an awards ceremony last weekend at CIA Headquarters to honor the winners of eight local science fair competitions. Nearly 130 students were recognized for their outstanding and creative projects. Half of the student winners were female, and they hailed from countries including the United States, Bangladesh, South Africa, India, and Liberia.
“These events are wonderful opportunities to demonstrate the CIA’s strong commitment to our community,” CIA Director Leon E. Panetta said. “It’s also terrific for our officers to see the inspired scientific thinking of the next generation of American leaders. That’s motivating for our officers, who demonstrate and apply amazing technical knowledge in protecting our nation.”
The CIA’s Director for Science and Technology, Glenn Gaffney, presented the attendees with their awards and emphasized how important these skills and a spirit of service are to the CIA’s mission. Gaffney’s S&T officers apply unique tools and capabilities to our most pressing national security challenges. This work includes, for example, the development of technical intelligence collection systems.
CIA officers have been participating as judges in regional high school science fairs in the greater Washington metropolitan area for two decades. This year, more than 65 officers selected the winners from hundreds of projects at fairs in 17 counties across the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Student projects are evaluated on their scientific strength and merit, and their potential relevance to the CIA’s mission. For example, one winner from the Loudoun County Science Fair completed a project on “The Attenuation Ability of Different Metallic Films on WiFi Strength.” Another outstanding project from the Montgomery County Science Fair focused on “Signals and Information Carried on Radio Frequencies: A Free Ride at the Speed of Light.”
One of the Agency’s top scientists also recounted her personal story for the students, telling them how she won a state science fair in high school and had the chance to compete on the international level. This experience, she said, taught her early in life that the scientific field was a place where she could excel and make a big difference.