This past Spring Break was without a doubt my favorite one so far! Our GSIS program puts on a trip to Washington, DC every Spring Break so that students can have the opportunity to go talk to people who actually work in the intelligence agencies. This past week, my fellow students and I went to briefings all over the IC (intel community) and we learned so much about our career field that we have chosen. On Sunday, Lauren and I explored the city.
It was the 100th Anniversary of the gift of the Cherry Blossom trees from Japan!
At the Smithsonian Castle!
On Monday we went to briefings at INSCOM (the Army Intelligence and Security Command) and NGA (the National Geo-spatial Intelligence Agency). The new NGA building is AMAZING. It is all glass and brand new. There’s even a gym and restaurants on the bottom floor! We weren’t allowed to bring any electronics or else I would post a picture. After dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe, my group walked around downtown DC and got to see a ton of cool old buildings. They were so amazing.
The Hard Rock Cafe where we ate was right next to Ford’s Theatre, where Abraham Lincoln was shot! SO COOL!
Tuesday, we went to the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency. We visited the Cryptological Museum and even got to play with an Enigma machine from WWII! That night, we got to visit the Navy Memorial.
Wednesday was a day of sightseeing and having meals with Professor Austin’s contacts from the DOE and the MDA. First we went to the International Spy Museum, which was so fun! We got to see cool spy gadgets and pretend that we were spies undercover. There were so many cool things to look at. Even better was the fact that a lot of what we saw, we have already learned about in our classes! I also learned so much from the lunch and dinner appointments. It was great to actually be able to talk to analysts and people who know the intelligence business. We had some great discussions.
St. Patrick’s Church! How fitting for St. Patty’s Day!
We walked all the way to the Jefferson Memorial! It was definitely farther than it looked. Good thing I brought my tennis shoes!
Thursday we got to listen to a Foreign Policy class held at the Department of State. It was all about US/Chinese relations. We were there with students from other universities, and there was a question and answer session which was really interesting. In the afternoon we got to go to the J. Edgar Hoover building, or FBI Headquarters. It is so huge! And… it kind of looks like a big mushroom. But it was still super cool.
And of course, that night we celebrated St. Patty’s day listening to an Irish band in an Irish restaurant. The Rogues helped us celebrate Professor Austin’s birthday, and she was so embarrassed! But we all had a great time.
Friday we got briefed by AFOSI (Air Force Office of Special Investigations) and NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigation Services), after which we got to visit the FBI Academy! I don’t have any pictures of that day because I didn’t bring my camera, but it was absolutely amazing! Here are just a few tidbits of information that I collected over the week:
1. A good, strong resume is a MUST in order to even get considered for a job in the IC.
2. Relevant experience is so important.
3. Taking Chinese is a very good idea! They loved that I was taking Chinese classes!
4. Networking is crucial! It’s all about who you know and the contacts that you have.
5. Washington, DC is the place to go!
Overall I had such a fantastic time and I can’t WAIT to put my degree to use and go back to DC someday!
“I am not afraid of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday and I love today.”
-William Allen White