College students from across the U.S. toured the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency headquarters in Springfield, Virginia, July 26 as part of the Intelligence Community Center for Academic Excellence, a congressionally-mandated program funded by the Department of Defense to encourage universities to build defense and intelligence curricula across the nation.
This year more than 25 schools were represented in the two-week IC CAE summer seminar, said Clarey Walker, IC CAE program manager.
The summer program brings college students to the Washington, D.C. area to learn about intelligence agencies and educate them with the core skills necessary to meet U.S. national security requirements, said Joan Vallancewhitacre, IC CAE senior advisory board member and science and technology programmatics officer at NGA.
“This is a great opportunity to know whether this is the type of career that you want to get into,” said Stacey Dixon, Ph.D., NGA deputy director during her keynote speech at the Holiday Inn on July 22. “Don’t be shy, ask questions (and) probe while you’re here.”
The program gives students opportunities to ask senior leaders questions and “pick their brains,” said William Heath, student at the Pennsylvania State University.
During the first week of the program, students tour facilities, learn about background investigations, attend a recruitment fair, and interact with intelligence professionals and IC CAE alumni, said Vallancewhitacre.
In the second week, students participated in unclassified national security simulations and presented their findings to the Defense Intelligence Agency’s director of analysis, said Walker.
Eight 2019 IC CAE participants are also NGA interns this summer, said Vallancewhitacre.
More than 160 IC CAE participants have become NGA employees since fiscal year 2018, according to NGA’s analytics team in the Human Capital Advanced Capabilities office.
The best part of the program is the diversity of demographics and thought, said Aya Yousuf, student at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
“There are a lot of ways to contribute to make the world a better place,” said Dixon. “This is one. You’re the kind of people we need. So know that, if this is something that you decide to do, you will be welcomed."
For more information about the IC CAE program and how to apply visit, https://www.dia.mil/Careers-and-Internships/Students/