The Women in Intelligence and National Security (WINS) recently hosted their second annual Intelligence and National Security Conference.
The multi-panel, guest speaker driven event was held from Saturday, March 17th, until the end of the following day.
The conference featured guest-speakers from different agencies in the U.S. Intelligence Community such as the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, among those from various law enforcement agencies, private contracting firms, and the military.
While this conference was held mostly as a information event, it did place a large emphasis on women and the roles that they play as our world makes more progress in the field of women’s rights. Many of the guest speakers were women who shared stories of both their experiences in the world of security, and as female professionals.
A few highlights out of the many incredible panels on Saturday are as follows: Martha Peterson, of the CIA recounted her experiences of both being married to a CIA operative in Laos during the Vietnam War, and her later experiences managing human intelligence assets in Moscow during the latter portion of the 1970’s and her arrest and interrogation by KGB officials. Her story is exhibited in her book The Widow Spy.
The NSA held a panel discussing career opportunities in which two representatives described the agency as one that “really takes care of you,” and that the working climate feels akin to one big family. Among the benefits offered by the NSA were opportunities for advancement and encouragement to broaden one’s field of work in order to better understand the nature of the agency.
The NSA also sponsors their employees to obtain their masters degrees either from the agency itself or from several accredited universities. The NSA hires students from almost every major and offers 17 different career opportunities as well as internships. More information can be found at www.nsa.gov/careers.
In a panel to help students aspiring to work in the field of intelligence, two recent graduates of the program shared their best tips for networking in Washington D.C. and how transition from college and into the workforce.
Amanda Corona stated that even as a student, business cards a one of the best things that a student can have. Simply handing something tangible to a potential employer increases your chances of being remembered and ensures that they have your contact information.
Ben Malone recommended Linkedin as one of the best ways to put yourself and your resume in the open for potential employers. They also stated that resumes must be tailored specifically to the job you are applying for. A standardized email attracts less attention. The pair also recommended seeking various career and networking fairs that are put on in D.C. these also often have free food and open bars for those on a budget. One of the companies that puts on these fairs is the Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) and can be found at www.insaonline.org.
The Intelligence and National Security Conference also created a very special opportunity for several of Coastal’s intel major to present their undergraduate research. This helped all who participated to get recognition and feedback on their hard work from those who have worked in the intelligence field: a valuable and rare opportunity for undergraduates.
Overall this conference was extremely well-organized and well-run. The speakers and panels were highly informative and this annual event serves as an invaluable resource for anyone wishing to build a career in the field of national security or the military.