From financial to military intelligence: Meet IWP alumna Karissa Chadwick

by Therese Gratia  |  June 16, 2016  |  STUDENTS & ALUMNI

"Military intelligence was my dream, and I was so excited that I got a job at the Air Force."
-Karissa Chadwick, Class of 2013

Karissa Chadwick, graduationBeginning in her early childhood, the United States Air Force played a significant role in Karissa Chadwick’s life. Her father was active duty Air Force, and today, she works with the Air Force doing military intelligence.  IWP was instrumental in helping her on this journey.

As a child, her father’s career allowed her to move around quite often. Karissa considers Alaska to be where she is from because that is where she spent the longest period of time. She eventually left the peripatetic lifestyle behind when it was time to go to college.

Karissa went to college at New Mexico State University and received her Bachelor’s in Government and Pre-Law. While she was unsure what to do after finishing her undergraduate degree, Karissa is thankful she received guidance from her international relations college professor to look into The Institute of World Politics for graduate school.

Once Karissa decided she wanted a career in intelligence, she pursued her Master of Arts at IWP in Statecraft and National Security Affairs with a specialization in Intelligence. She also obtained an internship in financial intelligence with the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) during her time at IWP. While working at the Treasury during the height of U.S. and Cuba’s reestablishment of relations, Karissa focused specifically on the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) associated with Cuba.

Karissa and DylanWith this experience under her belt, Karissa graduated from IWP in May of 2013. Ultimately, Karissa accepted her dream job as an intelligence analyst with the Air Force through the Pathways PALACE Acquire Program. This three year program has provided Karissa with the comprehensive formal training and security clearance needed to be an effective analyst.

Karissa was surprised to find much of what she learned in her training and what she does at work every day with the Air Force coincides with concepts, terms, and ideas she learned through the curriculum at IWP. Karissa noted, "All of the classes I took at IWP help with my work. I still hear concepts and terms at work that I go home and read about in books I was assigned in my IWP courses. I definitely felt I had an edge over everyone else in my most recent training course, and I was able to act as a resource for my colleagues because of my IWP experience."

While she found all of her classes pertinent and useful, Professor Thomas’s Military Intelligence and Modern Warfare course has  the biggest impact on her daily life.  And she continues to rely on the professional network she developed at IWP, which has allowed her to have contacts "in almost every agency within the intelligence community."

IWP has played an even bigger role in Karissa’s personal life. Karissa met her fiancé Dylan Brauer (’13) and several of her closest friends through IWP. Karissa said, "Students should completely immerse themselves in IWP. It has served as a resource for reaching my goals as well as meeting my best friends and fiancé."

Silver Anniversary Alumni Reception (2)