Mar 07, 2012
Chad Miller (‘03, Natural Resources Planning and Interpretation) was recently accepted to the Navy Postgraduate School (NPS) in Monterey, Calif. His focus? Learning how to detect where terrorists are gathering materials to build improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in order to stop the bombs from being made in the first place.
Upon completing his master’s degree, Miller will take a job in the military or intelligence communities as part of the school’s Scholarship for Service program. “It’s a really good opportunity to go back to school and work on a project that benefits our national security,” he says.
Miller graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Natural Resource Planning and Interpretation, focusing on the Geographic Information System Remote Sensing option. “All the classwork I learned at HSU definitely gave me a strong start to my career,” he said. “Little things like Professor Steven Steinberg encouraging students to become members of the professional society have all helped.”
In fact, it was through the American Society of Photogrammetry in Remote Sensing that Miller learned about the opportunity with the NPS.
While in school at NPS, Miller will use satellite images to identify materials terrorists use to make IEDs. The NPS wanted to hire a student who is a civilian and has a background in remote sensing to work on the project—and thanks to Miller’s experience after graduation, he was the perfect candidate.
Before enrolling at the NPS, Miller worked as a watershed technician for Green Diamond Resource Company. Soon after, he was heading to Mississippi for his first remote sensing field job conducting aerial surveys. But the experience of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina helped him decide to return to the redwoods. “My wife and I evacuated for a couple weeks during Katrina and half the people I worked with lost everything,” he said. “Needless to say, after that, I was trying to get back to Humboldt.”
Life in Humboldt lasted another year as Miller again worked for the Green Diamond Resource Company, this time as a GIS technician. A job opportunity for Miller’s wife soon had the couple moving to Monterey, Calif., where he would eventually enroll in the NPS.
Down the line, Miller says he would like to switch gears from national security and apply what he learns in the NPS to the environment. “I think it is very important that we learn about our ecosystems,” he says. “I think GIS and remote sensing are valuable tools to learn more about our planet.”