Tyra Bjorlo, a recent Coastal Carolina University graduate, joined an ivy league line-up in a prestigious internship this fall.
The program is in support of the Critical Threats Project of the American Enterprise Institute. During the coming months, Bjorlo will be conducting research on women in Salafi-jihadist groups and producing daily intelligence reports relating to the Al-Qaeda global network.
Bjorlo is one of six intern candidates chosen to receive a monthly living stipend of $1,000 while working alongside Frederick Kagan, a top counterinsurgency advisor to General David Petraeus, former Director of the CIA. She is the first student from CCU to intern with the American Enterprise Institute and is the only participating student who was not chosen from an ivy league university. Bjorlo credits her success to her experience at CCU and the professors with whom she formed relationships.
“Coastal more than prepared me for this internship,” Bjorlo says. “My professors, especially those in the Intel department, were never satisfied with mediocre work and always encouraged me to study harder, read more and continue to better myself every day.”
One of her professors, Joseph Fitsanakis, believes that Bjorlo may reach a senior position in the United States intelligence community.
“She worked extremely hard to master her subject. She didn’t simply go to class and then check out of school. She lived and breathed her topic,” Fitsanakis says.
He credits much of Bjorlo’s success to her work in the Chanticleer Intelligence Brief, where Bjorlo served as an executive member.
The Chanticleer Intelligence Brief is a mock intelligence agency here at Coastal, built with guidance from members of the United States Intelligence Community. The agency accepts students in the Intelligence major and provides mastery course material. The program lasts several semesters. Students in CIB can become published and publicized subject matter experts and build a working portfolio to share with future employers.
The Critical Threats Project internship began on Sept. 2 and Bjorlo is kept busy with her assignments.
Bjorlo advises current students to “take on as many membership roles as you can and join clubs, take initiative in your classes, and always go with your gut. Take advantage of all the opportunities that you can.”