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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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National Security Panel gives students insight on federal careers

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Photo by Photo by Annie Lui

Representatives from CIA, NSA, DEA, HIS and the FBI attended the National Security Panel on Tuesday, October 2, 2018. 

Dedication and determination to serve the United States brought together a panel of five national security agencies at Texas A&M.
The National Security Panel takes place annually at A&M during the fall semester and is hosted by the Career Center. Students can attend the event to gain insight into careers in national security. This year’s panel was held on Oct. 2, and students from a broad range of majors and minors were exposed to the prospect of taking upon themselves the duty of the government.
The panel introduced students to the work of the United States intelligence agencies and their mission to eliminate threats and protect the country. The panelists represented five federal agencies: the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the Drug Enforcement Administration and Homeland Security Investigations.
Topics of discussion included organization missions, critical needs and the career opportunities available to students interested or involved in engineering and technical programs within the agencies.
Each panelist explained how students may best prepare themselves for a federal career in security roles. All panelists spoke about the importance of applying close to a year in advance and the importance of the skills needed to perform the job.
Jacqueline Erwin of the HSI spoke about the teamwork between multiple agencies and the challenges that promote it.
“Resources are always going to be a problem for most agencies,” Erwin said. “It’s a challenge in one way, but it’s also a challenge that we embrace because we also reach out to our other agencies because there are state and local agencies on our task force that have different resources available.”
The panelists talked about the significance of maintaining a clean record to pass the background checks each agency requires of its applicants. Although, most background checks can be lengthy.
Each panelist explained that there is a clearance process at the end of the application process addressing the applicant’s soundness of judgment, handling and protecting sensitive information, loyalty to the United States and more.
The speakers explained the benefits a career in a law enforcement agency provides. Ken Fowler of the NSA said the agency provides paid time off, health and life insurance and retirement plans.
“Be aware of not only your professional goals but your personal goals,” Fowler said. “Have a balanced of life. One day you could work four hours and the next day you could work eight.”
Brian Cannon of the FBI spoke about the necessity of communication skills in the agencies and the importance of being diverse to make the application stand out.
“At the end of the day, you’ve got to be able to talk to people,” Cannon said. “If you can’t talk to a jury, a judge, an attorney and convince them of your story, it never happened. Don’t sell yourself short. Try to diversify yourself. Stay educated about the job. It’s never too soon to start.”

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