Two ESU Students Attend National Security Seminar in D.C.

Posted by: jrivera on June 6, 2013, No Comments

Two East Stroudsburg University students recently traveled to Washington, D.C. to learn about issues relating to U.S. national security. Zachary Niles (left), a senior majoring in political science with a concentration on politics and government from Sellersville, Pa., and Alexis Lutz (right), a senior majoring in political science with a concentration on politics and government from Wilson Borough, Pa., attended a program, titled “Top Secret: Challenges to National Security in a Global Society.”

Woosley-NilesFormer CIA Director R. James Woosley and Zachary Niles. Niles met Woosley at a speech Woosley made during a program about U.S. national security titled “Top Secret: Challenges to National Security in a Global Society.”

Two East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania (ESU) students recently traveled to Washington, D.C. to learn about issues relating to U.S. national security. Alexis Lutz, a senior majoring in political science with a concentration on politics and government from Wilson Borough, Pa., and Zachary Niles, a senior majoring in political science with a concentration on politics and government from Sellersville, Pa., attended a program, titled Top Secret: Challenges to National Security in a Global Society. The academic seminar – from May 19-24 – was sponsored by The Washington Center (TWC) Program for Internships and Academic Seminars in partnership with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

The seminar focused on national security issues and the decision making process as it relates to growing threats from terrorist groups, transnational networks, and rogue states. It examined how these changes impact the international arena and explored how the U.S. can best respond to them.

During the week in Washington, D.C. student and faculty attendees learned about national security issues of the day through site visits, tours and lectures by nationally recognized journalists, politicians, political analysts, and scholars. Presentations and panel discussions focused on such topics as identifying and stopping threats, drones, arms control and terrorism. There were talks by U.S. Congressman from Texas Michael McCaul (R-10th Dist.), the chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security; David E. Sanger, the chief Washington correspondent for The New York Times, former CIA Director R. James Woosley and John C. (Chris) Inglis, deputy director of the National Security Agency (NSA). Inglis acts as the Agency’s chief operating officer, responsible for guiding and directing strategies, operations and policy.

Niles said the seminar was very rigorous.

“I decided to attend the seminar because I am very interested in our nation’s national security, and what better place to come learn about it than here in Washington D.C.,” said Niles. “From this seminar I have learned that we face complex issues dealing with national security. Topics we covered range from the President Obama drone policy, China conducting cyber-attacks, our military rebalance to Asia, Iran looking to develop nuclear capabilities, and the continuing threats of terrorism that we will face in the future. A main theme of importance from this seminar is that in order to be better prepared for the threats of today and tomorrow we need better cooperation–better sharing of information and intelligence between our sixteen intelligence agencies, continuous cooperation with our allies in Europe and Asia, and cooperation between the two political parties in Congress to rein in spending in order to lower our dependence on foreign governments buying our debt. Another great experience from this seminar was our ability to network while down here, everything from meeting fellow peers from universities all over the country, to the outstanding speakers who came in to talk with us and told us about how to obtain internships, to our faculty adviser who led our small group discussions. Sometimes in Washington, D.C. it’s all about who you know, and becoming an alumni of The Washington Center is a great stepping stone for advancement in my career.”

Niles was able to meet Inglis and ask for career advice. He also met former CIA Director Woosley.

Lutz, who will graduate from ESU later this year, said she also benefited greatly from the program and it exceeded her expectations.

“I chose to participate in the National Security Seminar to decide whether or not it was the field I would like to pursue for a career,” said Lutz. “After taking part in this seminar I have learned a lot about multiple national security aspects such as new technological advances in the military and cyber terrorism. Through lectures, discussion groups, and site visits, this has been a life changing experience. I am so happy I decided to participate in the seminar because not only have I gotten the chance to network and gain more knowledge about the roles and various aspects of national security, but it taught me a lot about myself and who I hope to be when I get older.”

The students visited the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building and the State Department and took a bus tour of Washington, D.C.

The trip was partially funded by the Office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences and arranged by Kimberly S. Adams, Ph.D., ESU associate professor of political science and campus liaison to TWC. TWC is an educational non-profit, non-partisan organization that provides thousands of students from hundreds of colleges and universities nationally and worldwide with specialized internship opportunities in Washington D.C., and abroad.

For more information about the political science degree programs at East Stroudsburg University contact Dr. Adams at 570-422-3924 or by email at ksadams@esu.edu. For information about the Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars, visit http://www.twc.edu/