Monday, November 26, 2012

GeoEye Expert Spotlight: Dr. Colleen “Kelly” McCue

GeoEye employees are elevating insight to bring you secure, timely, and accurate location information. The company’s staff is comprised of bright and talented individuals with diverse backgrounds who work hard to ensure customer satisfaction. Take a closer look at some of the people who help to make GeoEye great.

We know that GeoEye is collecting and distributing high-quality satellite imagery that delivers clear insight and allows our customers to “see change”. In order to extract deeper insights, the staff at GeoEye Analytics takes imagery and combines it with other sources of geospatial and human geography information. GeoEye Analytics delivers geospatial analytic assessments intended to answer tough questions and allow our customers to “understand and anticipate change”.

Dr. Colleen “Kelly” McCue is a subject matter expert at the company’s McLean, Va. office, with extensive knowledge of national security and law enforcement. Kelly uses her knowledge to tackle geospatial projects on a global scale. For example, Kelly has been heavily involved with predictive analysis, modeling the activity of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Africa. Improved understanding of LRA movements will enable better response to and prevention of threats from this violent group. Kelly determines how geospatial and human geography data can answer critical questions for our customers, like “How can resources be optimized to keep people safe?”

Kelly studied Psychology at the University of Illinois – Chicago before earning her Ph.D. in the same field at Dartmouth College. Her education led her to a postdoctoral fellowship at the Medical College of Virginia and helped shift her focus toward analyzing violent crimes. She worked with state and local police departments, assisting with investigations into criminal activities. Her involvement with high-profile cases enhanced her skills and prepared her for increasingly challenging projects.

Often, the work she does is proprietary, given its sensitive nature. She frequently deals with dangerous subjects and issues with global impact. Some of her work focuses on providing assistance to people in need, like the modeling of LRA movements in Africa. At other times, Kelly focuses on projects that make a difference right here at home. She applies her knowledge about consumer behavior and place preferences to predict trends in criminal behaviors. She also draws correlations between public health and public safety. While it is important to be able to accurately predict a likely result, it is not always possible to prevent or change a particular outcome. Still, Kelly notes that it is truly “a privilege to be a part of the solution.”

Given the opportunity, Kelly would like to join an embedded team and apply her talents in the field more often. She appreciates the challenge of hands-on work and knows how rewarding it can be to get up close to a problem to find the solution. She feels fortunate to work alongside many gifted individuals serving in unique places around the world.

During her childhood days of star gazing in the backyard with her father and throughout her career, she has embraced her love of science and channeled her passion to make a positive impact. She even recently discovered that her father was part of the Corona project, a secretive satellite surveillance project developed in the Cold War. Perhaps, even though it was unknown to her growing up, her father’s work inspired her own professional endeavors.

Dr. McCue’s research is published in various journals and book chapters, and she has also written a book entitled Data Mining and Predictive Analysis: Intelligence Gathering and Crime Analysis. Visit her Web site to learn more about her fascinating background:

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