Students eye career options with intelligence agencies

Dr. Shahid M. Shahidullah
July 31, 2012

students-eye-career-optio Twelve students just completed a summer workshop at ECSU that spotlighted careers with the nation's key intelligence agencies.

The summer workshop was held because ECSU is a part of a consortium project that has been recently funded by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). The title of the Project is Mid-Atlantic Consortium Center for Academic Excellence (MAC-CAE). The lead institution is Morgan State University and the other participating institutions are Norfolk State University and Bowie State University. The project is being led by Dr. Arlene Maclin of the Department of Physics at Morgan State University. At ECSU, the directors of the MAC-CAE program are Dr. Shahid M. Shahidullah, professor and chair of the Department of Criminal Justice, Sociology, and Social Work, and Dr. Vandana S. Gavaskar, associate professor in the ECSU Department of Language, Literature, and Communication.

One of the major goals of the project is to educate and train a new cadre of students from diverse backgrounds in each participating institution to be competitive to pursue careers in the nation's key intelligence agencies such as the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State, Central Intelligence Agency, Army Intelligence, Air Force Intelligence, Navy Intelligence, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the National Security Agency.

This consortium project that received a grant of $1.8 million will train and educate this group of students initially for three years. Under this project at ECSU, they will study national security issues, take language courses, participate in national security colloquia, serve as interns in various IC (Intelligence Community) agencies, and travel abroad for cultural immersions. This particular consortium is focused on national security issues in South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka). In connection with this project, ECSU is offering a new online Hindi Language course from the fall of 2012 through the Department of Languages, Literature, and Communication taught by Vandana S. Gavaskar. The course in basic Hindi will serve all students in the consortium through Blackboard and other distance learning capabilities at ECSU. ECSU has also started a new research program on Human Terrain Systems (HTS). The HTS program is being directed by Dr. Shyamal Das, associate professor of sociology at ECSU.

One of the major components of the MAC-CAE project is the pre-college summer outreach program. The goals of the pre-college programs are to: 1) increase student's awareness of the intelligence community and IC careers; 2) increase the talent pool of students considering careers in IC; and 3) serve as a recruiting tool for outstanding students for the institution and its IC-CAE Program. ECSU's MAC-CAE project completed its first pre-college outreach workshop on July 23-27.

The 12 students who attended the ECSU workshop included 9 rising freshmen and 3 area high school students. The workshop featured guest speakers, video presentations, and in-class student presentations on different facets of national security and the role of intelligence. The students also visited the local U.S. Coast Guard base. Other presenters at the ECSU summer workshop included Ms. Patricia Gibbs, director of Sponsored Programs at ECSU; Mr. Darius Eure, ECSU assistant director of admissions and recruitment; Dr. Johnny L. Houston, an ECSU professor emeritus of mathematics and computer science; Dr. Margery Coulson-Clark, an associate professor in the ECSU Department of History and Political Science; Dr. William Porter, a professor in the ECSU Department of History and Political Science; and Dr. Shyamal Das an associate professor in the ECSU Department of Criminal Justice, Sociology and Social Work.

On July 25, Dr. Arlene Maclin, the Executive Director of the MAC-CAE Consortium, visited the pre-college summer workshop. Dr. Maclin addressed the students, toured the campus, and had lunch with the students, parents, faculty, and selected university administrators. She met and discussed the various facets of the MAC-CAE project and other future initiatives with Dr. Ali Khan, provost and vice-chancellor of the ECSU Division of Academic Affairs. Dr. Willie J. Gilchrist, ECSU's Chancellor, is one of the members of MAC-CAE's Governing Board.

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