Everyone dreams of doing a job that they love. Not everyone, though, is able to make this dream a reality.
Josh Davis quickly learned what he loved doing when he took a class on international terrorism at Appalachian State University, which he “found extremely interesting because of the interactions, both formal and informal, that state and non-state actors have with each other when dealing with terrorism.” He graduated in the spring of 2007 with a BS in Political Science.
Determined to begin a career in this field, Josh began his search for graduate schools with related programs. He says, “The results of my formal search were disappointing, and I realized there weren’t many choices on the civilian side of intelligence to study for a master’s degree.” After finding IWP through an online ad, he said that the school “impressed me because of the teacher practitioners who can offer personal experiences to their teachings.”
During his time at IWP, Josh not only had a classroom learning experience, he took the opportunity for an internship with the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service.
“This internship allowed me the chance to see the real-world application of the information I learned, and continue to learn, at IWP. DSS is on the front lines of US diplomacy; it’s their job to protect our diplomats and embassies overseas. I had the privilege of working with great DSS special agents and professional personnel in the domestic and foreign training units and I gained a new respect for the job and the dangers our State Department personnel face every day.”
In addition, Josh was active in student life at IWP. He helped form the Student Government Association, which, he mentions, “was founded on the idea that communication between students and the IWP administration are is vital to sustaining an effective, student targeted learning environment. This supports both the faculty and the students and I hope it helps IWP to become an unequalled place for education in intelligence.”
Josh is currently working within the US Intelligence Community as an intelligence professional, where he works counterterrorism operations. He uses lessons he learned in his Intelligence and Policy and his Terrorism and Counterterrorism classes “on a daily basis.” He also observes though, that, “I can safely say almost every class at IWP has helped me in various ways so far in my career.”
His IWP education has helped him secure a job he enjoys – and also that allows him to make our nation more secure. But it isn’t always easy to land this first job. To new IWP students, Josh recommends, “Visit with Derrick Dortch [IWP’s career counselor] as soon as possible: if you want to work for the government it takes a lot of time to get hired and do background checks. I started meeting with him September 2009 (my first semester) and I was able to secure a job before graduating. Start looking for jobs early.”
He also advises, “Communicate with your professors and your classmates. Everyone comes with very unique backgrounds so contribute where you can.”
Josh, a member of the Class of 2011, intends to graduate this fall with an M.A. in Strategic Intelligence Studies. The Institute looks forward to continuing reports of success in his career.