START GTD Intern Kevin Kupski planned on pursuing a degree in accounting, but a couple geography classes taken to fulfill general education requirements changed the course of his studies. Kupski was fresh off a tour with U.S. Marine Corps Security, and after a life of service all around the world, he found a home in the University of Maryland’s Department of Geographical Sciences.
He grew up in Dracut, Massachusetts, where he felt pushed to explore outside of his hometown and pulled towards serving his country. As a U.S. Marine, he was stationed in Okinawa, Japan, for two years as air traffic control maintenance personnel. He then went on to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, then Kinshasa, DRC, and Sarajevo, Bosnia.
Though he served as Marine Corps Security in each location, it wasn’t until he started taking classes at UMD that his passion for security came to the forefront.
“Even after military life, I was drawn to people and subjects that had something to do with security,” Kupski said. “I noticed that the people around me were mostly geography and GIS majors, and their conversations piqued my curiosity. For instance: how can remote sensing be applied to protect the United States?”
His coursework began to crystalize his ambitions for a federal career in diplomatic security. During an appointment with his advisor at the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Kupski learned about the internship opportunities at START.
“I thought that there couldn’t be a better way to learn about terrorism and counterterrorism, and gain some real-world research experience, than working on the GTD,” Kupski said. “I’m hoping that between the GIS program and this internship, as well as my past experiences in the Marine Corps, I will be well prepared for the future.”
Kupski plans to pursue a graduate degree in Geospatial Information Science at University of Maryland and hopes to become a Diplomatic Security Service Special Agent and serve as a Regional Security Officer overseas with the State Department.
“I want to continue to serve the country in some capacity,” Kupski said. “I chose the Marines because it was the most challenging, physically and mentally. I’m hoping to find some of that same challenge in my ultimate career.”