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Reflections upon graduation by a member of the Class of 2011

Graduating from the Institute caused a rush of emotions when the time came to walk down the aisle. The Institute of World Politics, better known as IWP to its loyal staff, alum, students, and fans alike, is more than a graduate school for many of us. I have grown as a student under the direction of IWP professors and guest lecturers and have grown as a person working with the Institute to achieve my career goals and challenge myself. I have had wonderful experiences at the Institute and now, upon graduation, I am not afraid to challenge myself in future goals; I am ready for what life has prepared for me.

I have worked for IWP for a year and a half as the Library Assistant, and will now be taking on the role of representative of my graduating class for the alumni association. My future plans are set for now as I am beginning an internship at TrapWire, Inc. I will be working in the field of counterterrorism analysis and working with the company to design, build, and deploy counterterrorism technologies and services for the protection of critical infrastructure and personnel.

The future holds many possibilities for my fellow classmates, and my journey has just begun, yet I was not always clear on where my life was headed. In my undergraduate years at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania, I majored in political science and Spanish. During my graduate school search, I discovered IWP amid the many schools offering an M.A. in general political science and international relations, but IWP stood out with innovative degrees. The courses, the working professionals as professors, the M.A. and certificate opportunities were, by far, the most intellectual, exciting, and unique of all other schools.

While at IWP, I found my original impression to be very true. IWP is intellectually rigorous, offers exciting courses and outside lectures, and has a unique program unlike any other. As a graduate in statecraft and national security affairs with a concentration in intelligence studies, I have taken courses on political propaganda, intellectual warfare, the diplomatic arts, military strategy, regional studies, intelligence case studies, and many more. During my time at IWP, and through working in the school’s library, I have developed lifelong relationships and friendships with many of the staffers and professors. Some have helped me to secure internships at the State Department Diplomatic Security Service, the Heritage Foundation’s Allison Center for Foreign Policy, and now TrapWire. I have attended most of the events that IWP hosts, played on the IWP softball team, and volunteered at local events for the Institute’s supporters. I have grown here over the last two years, and now, with the idea of graduation just settling in, I will always respect the Institute for what it offers. IWP is a safe haven in the heart of our nation’s capital, always full of friendly faces.

I leave IWP knowing that I am ready for real-world experience. I plan to use my past positions to transition into a career in intelligence operations for the government. I have ambitions to be active in the field, traveling and living abroad and representing the US government to the best of my abilities. As IWP helped me plan my next steps with work in the intelligence and national security sector, I will work tirelessly towards my next goals. As President Theodore Roosevelt once noted:

Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.

His words ring true for all of my fellow graduates. We must try, try, and try again to achieve what we have set before us. We have the education and wit to succeed, thanks to IWP; therefore we must brave what the future has in store. I thank my family and friends for their support and I thank IWP for all I have experienced here and the people that I have met.