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Rockefeller College Gets U.S. Grant to Train Students as Homeland Security Professionals

Students in the T-STeP program, left to right, Patrick Campion '11, Tina Chang and Joseph Popcun, stand behind the project's lead trainer, UAlbany associate professor R. Karl Rethemeyer, a policy and terrorism expert.

ALBANY, N.Y. (Sept. 17, 2012) - Through a $200,000 U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) grant, students in UAlbany’s Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy embarked this fall upon a two-year program to become security and counter-terrorism professionals.

The Training for Security and Terrorism Professionals (T-STeP) program combines education, training, and research efforts administered by the College in partnership with the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES). In addition to being enrolled in a Master of Public Administration (MPA) program, the students will serve a DHSES internship.

R. Karl Rethemeyer, associate professor and chair of the Department of Public Administration and Policy, is leading the training. Rethemeyer is an expert on public policy and terrorism. His current research regarding organizational terrorist networks and counter-insurgency efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan is federally funded.

“T-STeP is designed to prepare homeland security professionals for long-term employment as intelligence analysts in local, state, or federal service in the public and private sectors,” said Rethemeyer. “The three students chosen were recruited for their overall academic excellence and their advanced training in science and mathematics.”

The students include:

  • Tina Chang, a 2009 University of California graduate who completed her bachelor’s in Asian humanities and was accepted into UAlbany’s criminal justice master’s program last year. She is proficient in Japanese and taught English in Japan after completing her undergraduate study. Chang received a certificate as a fingerprint examiner for New York State after an internship at the Division of Criminal Justice Services.
  • Patrick Campion, a 2011 UAlbany graduate who earned his bachelor’s in psychology with a minor in political science. He began coursework for the MPA in spring 2012 and has been working as an intern for DHSES since August 2011. He is also a graduate of the FBI Citizens’ Academy.
  • Joseph Popcun, a 2010 Syracuse University graduate who received his bachelor’s in international relations with a concentration in Middle Eastern security and diplomacy. He worked as a research assistant for the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism from May 2009 to May 2010, and currently works on contract as an immigration research analyst.

Chang sees the T-STeP program providing her with enhanced opportunities to meet her career goal. “T-STeP not only allows me to expand my studies in Rockefeller College, but also allows me to intern and, hopefully, will increase my chances of attaining a position as an intelligence analyst in the federal government,” she said.

Popcun agrees. “I believe that my education and experience has taught me a great deal about "the way the world is"— through gathering information, thinking critically, identifying challenges, and making decisions that better the public’s well-being. I'm proud that Rockefeller College can provide me with the tools necessary to make a difference in the lives of others.”

“The students will be deeply involved with our College’s faculty in ongoing research projects on terrorism, counter-terrorism, immigration enforcement, and other aspects of homeland security,” said Rethemeyer. Upon graduation, the students are required to work for at least two years in a homeland security-related public or private-sector job.

The T-STeP Program is part of Rockefeller College's Homeland Security Concentration in the Department of Public Administration and Policy. The courses are designed by University faculty in consultation with intelligence, law enforcement, and public management experts, and provide graduates with the foundation to become more effective homeland security professionals and managers.

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