START students recently spent the day at the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), thanks to Dr. Larry Stewart, a criminal justice professor at Savannah State University. Stewart is spending his summer with START through the DHS Summer Research Team Program for Minority Serving Institutions working with Dr. Laura Dugan.
Stewart was invited to visit NCTC and he extended the invitation to START students and staff. NCTC personnel toured and briefed the START group, offering them a look into the organization that leads the U.S. effort to combat terrorism at home and abroad. NCTC is a center for joint operational planning and joint intelligence, staffed by personnel from the various agencies, and serves as the primary organization in the United States Government for integrating and analyzing all intelligence pertaining to counterterrorism (except for information pertaining exclusively to domestic terrorism).
"The tour was nothing short of thrilling -- to see such a cornerstone of the defense world in action is an experience I will always remember and strive to be a part of someday," said Emily Stroud, a senior at Bethel University in St. Paul, Mn.
"The speakers at NCTC were particularly helpful in providing more ideas for my career path. Their personal stories were inspiring and I got a better sense of what a life --not just the job -- entails while working in the field of counterterrorism."
Stroud is currently working on a project with START that takes a close look at individual radicalization in the United States.
"The visit definitely opened my eyes to more possibilities of where I can work in the future, and the NCTC is now on that list," she said.
"I appreciated such a unique and educational opportunity."
The NCTC visit is one of dozens of educational enrichment and professional development opportunities offered to START students this summer. Each semester, START's comprehensive enrichment program includes guest lectures, field trips, career profile talks by scholars and practitioners, and practical skills training sessions, among other activities and mentorship.