By Lauren Minore
Graduate student Mark Myers was presented with a unique opportunity last semester after being accepted into the White House Internship Program in Washington, D.C. The program was initially created in 1985 by former U.S. President Ronald Reagan.
As a student in the Masters of Arts in Homeland Security program, Myers was assigned as an intern to the Domestic Policy Council. The council is the principal advisory body which provides strategic advice to the president on domestic policy matters.
Myers, who graduated in 2017 from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, New Jersey, with a bachelor’s degree in political science, conducted research on a variety of topics, including immigration reform.
“I was able to gain a better understanding of the challenges at the southern border,” he said. “The tasks that I engaged in primarily consisted of research projects for some of the supervisors in the domestic policy council.”
Students of the program seek out internships on their own but are advised by faculty of the program. Myers took online classes during the fall, so he was able to continue his degree while also taking on the internship opportunity.
According to Rider’s website, the Master of Arts in Homeland Security is a 36-credit program which “offers a distinctive and multidisciplinary approach to preparing professionals for leadership roles in protecting the United States, its interests and its allies from terrorist attacks, as well as responding to natural disasters and other threats to the safety and welfare of our communities, state and nation.”
The faculty of the program includes former Pennsylvania Gov. Mark Schweiker, executive in residence to Rider’s political science department and Michael Brogan, associate professor of political science.
Brogan, who is also one of the creators of the program, expressed his excitement about the unique opportunities the program poses for students.
“It has been a great experience for the students who have gone through the program,” he said. “The empowering part for students is that it connects what is going on in the field with leading research in the area.”
Brogan described the program as an “interdisciplinary field” in which students from a variety of backgrounds, including political science, global studies and criminal justice, are prepared to become leaders in the sector of homeland security.
“The professors, such as Brogan and [Elizabeth] Radziszewski, have been extraordinarily knowledgeable about topics ranging from cyber security, global and energy security,” Myers said.
Myers also said the courses he took in the program helped to hone his research abilities and skills which proved invaluable during his time at the White House.
“The issues that I learned about in the classroom gave me a basis for some of the domestic and international concerns the United States is focusing on,” he said. “I was able to use what I learned in the classroom for research projects.”
According to Brogan, students in the program have taken various internships within the federal government.
“We have had incredible internship placements, including the White House, the FBI, the Secret Service, the U.S. Marshall’s and the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security Preparedness,” he said.
Among these opportunities for students, Myers’ work in the White House proved to be promising for Brogan.
“We’re proud of Mark,” Brogan said. “He’s going to do great things both for Rider and for the country.”
Myers said he plans to use his education and work experience thus far to achieve mission objectives for future employers.
“I do believe that I will be successful in my future career and any who are interested in a similar line of work should consider enrolling in the homeland security program,” he said.
Students who are interested in the program can contact Brogan or Jamie Mitchell, director of graduate and continuing studies admission, for more information.