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Awards & Lists


BEYA | 2017 Scientist of the Year
By USBE News
Feb 16, 2017 - 10:11:55 AM

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In this photo, Ernest Smiley, chief data scientist at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (right), receives his award as 2017 Scientist of the Year from Morgan State University's Dr. Victor R. McCrary, VP research and economic development, who was honored as Scientist of the Year by the BEYA STEM Conference in 2011.

The award was presented at the historically black college and university (HBCU) Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Innovation Dinner held at the 31st annual BEYA STEM Conference held in Washington D.C February 9-11, 2017. Data scientist was dubbed "the sexiest job of the 21st century" in 2016.


Ernest Smiley
JOB: Chief Data Scientist
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA)

Why he won: The chief data scientist at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) is recognized for the contributions that NGA's Ernest Smiley has made over the last 20 years in integrating systems for the United States Department of Defense, warfighters, Intelligence professionals and first responders.

What does the NGA do? Anyone who sails a U.S. ship flies a U.S. aircraft, fights wars, locates targets, responds to natural disasters, or even navigates with a cell phone relies on the NGA.

Experience: Mr. Smiley holds the following certifications: certified in the governance of enterprise IT (CGEIT), certified software analyst (CSA), certified information security manager (CISM), certified in risk and information systems control (CRISC), certified project manager (CPM), certified forensic consultant (CFC) and certified e-commerce consultant (CEC). He holds a master's degree in technology management from Georgetown University, a master's in information technology, Master of Business Administration in finance and accounting, and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Maryland. He also holds a Graduate Certificate in Data Science from Georgetown University.

What he does: He serves as a key advisor for data science across the Intelligence Community. He develops methods to find patterns and relationships in large data sets, while leading mathematical, statistical, geospatial modeling, and other data-driven problem-solving analysis. Mr. Smiley provides strategic inputs, implements new technologies, and generates business. He develops the overall geospatial perspective for the operational environment, updates and creates models to support cloud-computing environments. He directs the strategy for data science formal training, career development and mentoring throughout NGA and NGA College. the development of NGA's tools, applications and technical integration processes and activities. He enjoys mentoring information technology personnel and providing guidance to high school and college students.

Prior to this position, Mr. Smiley served as chief technology officer, chief applications manager and technical executive for NGA while providing operational management and integration for 29,000+ computers ($100+million budget). His other positions include deputy director, senior engineering manager, senior information technology security manager and program manager for and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), Department of Energy (DOE), General Dynamics, Sprint, and Lockheed Martin. Mr. Smiley is a retired United States Army officer.

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