Health GIS Scholars Program

The Big Data Health Science Center’s Geospatial Core is pleased to announce the fourth annual Geographic Information Science (GIS) Scholars Program. This program is being launched to recognize and support two outstanding graduate students or postgraduate trainee who have demonstrated interest, potential, and/or experience in GIS and health research. GIS and health research is broadly defined, and includes, but is not limited to, using GIS to evaluate the social determinants of health, health behaviors, health outcomes, access to health care and social services, utilization of health services, environmental exposures, built environment, and other health related factors through mapping and spatial analysis. Anyone full-time graduate student or current post-doctoral fellow from USC is welcome to apply. The goals of this program are to:

  • Enhance students’ research and professional development in the area of GIS and health research
  • Cultivate students’ interest in GIS and spatial applications to health research
  • Build the technical and writing skills of students to pursue scholarly publications and reports
  • Develop scholars in health GIS who go on to make important contributions to the academic, public health, and other related sectors

Two student scholars will be awarded $3,000, which can be used toward professional development activities and expenses including resources and supplies for data collection and analysis, travel and registration at national or international conferences where research is presented on this topic, for professional workshops, or for other continuing education/training opportunities of importance to GIS and health research. In addition, 8 Esri Academy credits will be allotted to each student to use towards instructor-led ArcGIS training. Up to $2,000 can be requested for stipend and fringe for the applicant, with the additional $1,000 budgeted to other non-salary related costs. These funds are not expected to take the place of resources available through existing graduate research or teaching assistantships but are rather intended as supplements.

Scholars will be expected to engage in research and professional development activities with the Big Data Health Science Center during the award period as well as present preliminary findings at one or more research events/conferences (e.g., Big Data Health Science Center Seminar Series, Discover USC, and/or the James Clyburn Health Disparities Lecture) and will be strongly encouraged to submit the full findings from their study within a year. The award funds must be used within 9 months of receipt and all expenses must be pre-approved by the Director of the BDHSC Geospatial Core. Each scholar will have the ability to work with a mentor. Please include the mentor you would like to work with in your application.

Student finalists will be selected based on a review of the following materials:

  • Curriculum Vitae.
  • Research Statement (no more than 2 pages, not including references) that includes the following: 1) outlines the applicant’s experience and interest in GIS and spatial analysis for health-related research and/or practice, and 2) describes 1-2 key research objectives, as well as brief background, proposed data sources, methods, and deliverables. The GIS Scholar’s project may be topically and methodologically aligned with the Scholar’s mentor’s research program, but the proposed objectives must be developed by the student and distinct from the mentor’s work.
  • Proposed budget and budget justification for how the award would support the applicant’s research plan (no more than 1 page).
  • A signed letter of support from a USC system faculty member in support of the student’s application and indicating their agreement to serve as the student’s mentor/supervisor for the proposed project and noting the distinction between the student’s proposed project and the mentor’s ongoing research.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Enrolled at the masters or doctoral level at the University of South Carolina (Columbia or regional campuses) with an anticipated graduation date of May 2025 or later OR be a postdoctoral fellow at the University of South Carolina (Columbia or regional campuses).
  • Be in good academic standing (average 3.0 GPA or higher)


  • Dr. Melissa Nolan – Epidemiology
  • Dr. Nathaniel Bell – Nursing
  • Dr. Susan (Cuizhen) Wang – Geography
  • Dr. Corey Schnell – Criminology
  • Dr. Hunter Boehme– Criminology
  • Dr. Bryan Love – Pharmacy
  • Dr. Nathan Huynh- Engineering

Application Deadline:
March 15th, 2024 by 5 PM EST

Please direct any questions and SUBMIT YOUR APPLICATION TO:

Miranda Nixon,