- The purpose of the Award is to encourage and commend college/university graduate students at the PhD level who display exceptional interest, desire, ability, and aptitude in the field of remote sensing or other related geospatial information technologies, and who have a special interest in developing practical uses of these technologies.
- The Award is made to a graduate student (PhD level) currently enrolled or intending to enroll in a college or university in the United States or Canada who is pursuing a program of study aimed at starting a professional career where expertise is required in remote sensing or other related geospatial information technologies.
- The award consists of a certificate and a check in the amount of $6,000 and a one-year student or associate membership (new or renewal) in ASPRS.
- The award is presented by the ASPRS Foundation from funds donated by students, associates, colleagues, and friends of Robert Colwell, one of the world's most respected leaders in remote sensing, a field that he stewarded from the interpretation of World War II aerial photographs to the advanced acquisition and analysis of many types of geospatial data from military and civilian satellite programs.
A PhD-level graduate student who wishes to be considered for the award must submit an application form and the following items:
- A listing of courses taken, and/or those to be taken, in remote sensing or other related geospatial information technologies, recognizing that instruction in remote sensing is often embedded in courses taught in many different disciplines.
- An official transcript of all college/university level courses completed and grades received to demonstrate scholastic ability.
- A listing of internships, special projects or work experience; technical papers, research reports or other documents; courses taught as a lecturer or teaching assistant; and presentations made that may support the applicant’s capabilities in this field.
- Two letters of recommendation from faculty members or professionals having knowledge of the applicant’s capabilities (demonstrated or potential).
- A statement, not to exceed 2 pages, detailing the applicant’s educational and/or research goals that relate to the advancement of remote sensing or other related geospatial information technologies and the applications of these technologies for mapping, monitoring and/or assessing land (including coastal) resources and helping solve land resource planning or management issues. (Note: Dr. Colwell’s research focused mostly on developing and demonstrating practical uses of remote sensing.)
- The Selection Committee evaluates each applicant, applying equal weight to each of the five items listed above. The applicant who, in the opinion of the majority of the Committee, has the highest overall ranking is designated as the winner.