Below, Emily, a current IWP student, discusses her undergraduate experience at Mercyhurst University and her graduate studies at The Institute of World Politics. A native of Buffalo, New York, Emily received a degree in Intelligence Studies and a minor in Chinese Studies at Mercyhurst.
Please tell us more about your time at Mercyhurst.
While at Mercyhurst, I played field hockey and lacrosse, and I was a captain for both sports. I played both sports all four years when I was there. In addition to that, I was a mentor for an autistic kid, and I received the Diane Rogers Legacy Foundation Award my senior year because of the work I did as a mentor for my mentee. In addition to that, I was granted the Senior Female Scholar Athlete Award at Mercyhurst because of my job during the Intel program and playing two sports throughout my four years at Mercyhurst.
Please tell us more about your program at Mercyhurst.
The Mercyhurst Intelligence program really offers students a unique perspective on the Intelligence Community, and it gives us a lot of opportunities to go out and see what we want to do — if we want to work for the government or the private sector. They offer three avenues of approaches: we can study national security, we can study competitive intelligence, and we can study law enforcement.
During my time at Mercyhurst, I studied national security mostly, so I took classes that were related to terrorism, and we took a lot of writing and briefing classes. So a lot of our time at Mercyhurst, we were able to go in a class and be very hands-on with the professors and the students.
What made you choose IWP?
I knew IWP was going to be the place for me for my graduate study program because of the first time I visited the school for a Mercyhurst event with some of my alumni friends in the area.
After coming to the school for the event and hearing Professor Breckenridge* speak, I just really felt a sense of home and a family atmosphere here, and I had the feeling that I had the day that I chose Mercyhurst to go to school there. I knew it was going to be the best fit for me.
And the reason IWP is so complementary to Mercyhurst is because at Mercyhurst, we learn a lot of fundamentals on the intelligence cycle and a lot of briefing and writing skills that we get to practice in class, whereas at IWP, we learn a lot about international relations, international affairs. and how the government operates. It’s a lot different, but it’s very complementary in the fact that I think it would be really good for students to go to both, or for Mercyhurst students to come to IWP, because they’ll get skills from both schools, and further pursue their career in the government or in the private sector.
What other factors influenced your decision?
After I made my personal decision to come to IWP, I was looking at my current financial situation, and I met with the recruitment office multiple times before making the final decision. And they did a wonderful job at showing me all the different packages that I could apply for or was eligible for, one being the Mercyhurst scholarship that all Mercyhurst alumni get for being admitted to the school. That definitely helped out with a lot of the costs that I was going to be looking into.
In addition to that, I applied for the Ambassador Wos and Louis DeJoy Family Foundation Scholarship, and after applying, I actually was submitted and accepted into being the winner for the full ride for the school. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the two of you and for all the donors who are supporting the current student body.
What is your academic focus at IWP?
I am currently in the National Security and Statecraft Affairs program and I am going to specialize in Intelligence Studies because of my current degree in Intelligence Studies that I have from Mercyhurst.
How has your time at IWP impacted you professionally and academically?
After being through the midpoint in my two classes at IWP, International Relations and American Founding Principles, it is really interesting to see the techniques and the statecraft and the vocab and knowledge that I’m learning in both of those classes and how it is applicable to my current job and how it is definitely helping me understand what I’m doing in the government at large currently.
Do you think IWP is a good fit for Mercyhurst students?
Yes, I believe IWP would be a great fit for Mercyhurst students because of both of the different curricula the schools have to offer and how they are very complementary to one another.
In addition, I know there are many Mercyhurst alum here, including myself, and if anyone has any questions or wants to come visit the school or anything, please talk to the recruitment office and I’d be willing to answer any questions going forward.
*When he spoke at IWP, Dr. James Breckenridge was serving as Dean of the Tom Ridge School for Intelligence Studies and Information Science at Mercyhurst University.