"Not your typical internship."

May 22, 2015

-From the perspective of 2015 Cohort T&P Intern Anthony Petrosky

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Witnessing a complex, symphonic simulated terrorist attack; navigating through the wilderness with a map and compass, networking with the most knowledgeable professionals in the emergency management field, and researching sector specific best practices are all unique opportunities an intern at the National Center for Security & Preparedness (NCSP) can experience in a given day. Through a strategic partnership with the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services and their State Preparedness Training Center, the NCSP presents an exceptional opportunity for students to embark on a journey that allows them to undertake tasks that directly contribute to New York State's Homeland Security mission. This partnership offers interns an inside look at state-of-the-art trainings provided to first responder and emergency management professionals throughout New York State.

When I first started as an intern in the Training & Project Management section, I was not really sure what to expect. I started with an educational background in law enforcement and homeland security and knew I wanted to increase my practical knowledge. What I received is an experience like no other.

The environment at the NCSP encourages interns to grow and develop outside of the limitations of the title "intern." The project development process allows interns to contribute conceptually and practically to the organizational mission of the NCSP. This means that as an intern your ideas, effort, and time are well-respected and highly valued. These responsibilities fall on a wide spectrum and include anything from developing presentations to guide course content, to collaborating on design for scenario-based activities that simulate experiences first responders may face.

During my time at the NCSP, I was able to assist one of our project coordinators in the development of the Close Quarters Tactics course. The course is designed to improve upon room entry and room clearing skills of law enforcement officers while reinforcing principles and skills taught in other law enforcement centric courses offered at the SPTC. During the development of this course, I was able to interact with current and former law enforcement officers as well as former military Special Forces. I saw the course grow conceptually, and enter and exit the pilot phase during my time at the NCSP.

During the pilot phase I was able to travel to the SPTC on multiple occasions to see deliveries and assist in identifying areas of improvement. I was able to witness and contribute to the continuous and stringent review and evaluation processes that the NCSP performs for all its courses. Aside from the project management side of the course, I was able to see some very exciting, high speed, technical iterations of law enforcement tactics. Being able to assist in the development of this course has helped me build meaningful relationships and identify paths I can pursue professionally in the future.

Interning at the NCSP has been a tremendously positive experience and I cannot recommend it enough.

In addition to making a difference in the field, an internship with the NCSP offers a significant amount of professional development as interns are able to enroll in courses at the SPTC. I have taken a handful of courses including Open Source Information, Social Media for Disaster Response and Recovery, and Critical Decision Making during Crisis. These courses have provided me with skills and tools that benefit me in my day-to-day tasks as an intern, but that will also translate to tangible skills that I can apply in my career post-graduation.

Relationships are a catalyst for success in the professional world and I have formed relationships with subject matter experts in EMS, Fire, Law Enforcement, Emergency Management and the military. Being able to interact with professionals with diverse backgrounds is an eye-opening experience for someone looking to get into the homeland security field, especially in terms of how an internship at the NCSP can translate into professional opportunities.