University at Albany

T-STeP: Rockefeller Trains Homeland Security Professionals

Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy has received a $200,000 grant from the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to support its T-STeP program, a combined education, training, and research opportunity administered by the College in partnership with the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES). T-STeP, Training for Security and Terrorism Professionals, is designed to prepare homeland security professionals for two types of long-term employment: as intelligence analysts in local, state, or federal service and as social science researchers in the public and private sectors.

“The program is a continuation of the College’s commitment to high-quality graduate education for homeland security professionals, especially in the area of intelligence analysis,” said R. Karl Rethemeyer, associate dean of Rockefeller College and chair of the department of public administration and policy. “T-STeP builds on several of the College’s strengths, including our master’s certificate and master’s of public administration concentration in homeland security, the existing program of research on homeland security and terrorism funded in part by two DHS Centers of Excellence, and our partnership with the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.”
Admission to T-STeP was a competitive process open to U.S. citi­zens who had completed their undergraduate degrees by June 2012. Three applicants were selected for the program and began their studies toward an MPA with a concentration in homeland security in September 2012. The students are:
Patrick Campion, a 2011 UAlbany graduate with a BA in psychology and minor in political science, has been working as an intern for DHSES since August 2011. He is a graduate of the FBI Citizens’ Academy, where he was selected by Assistant Special Agent in Charge Richard J. Licht to participate in the six- week course on counterterrorism investigation, crisis management, IED/weapons of mass destruction, and intelligence sharing.
Tina Chang, a master’s student in the University at Albany’s Criminal Justice program, completed her BA in Asian humanities at UCLA in 2009. She is proficient in Japanese and taught English in Japan after completing her undergraduate study. Tina interned at the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services during the 2011–2012 academic year, receiving a certificate as a fingerprint examiner for the state.
Joseph Popcun, a 2010 graduate of Syracuse University with a BA in international relations concentrating in Middle Eastern security and diplomacy, worked as a research assistant for the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism in a joint partnership with the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Post-Conflict Reconstruction Project from May 2009 to May 2010. Currently, Joseph works on contract as an immigration research analyst, conducting case reviews based on data from Customs and Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Department of State, and the Transportation Security Administration.
The T-STeP instructional experience will center on a set of core courses designed to familiarize students with the challenges of public service and prepare them for in-depth study in the area of homeland security. The concentration courses are designed to ensure that each student graduates with a strong theoretical grounding paired with a methodological foundation in at least two distinct approaches to analysis. In addition, students will engage with faculty in ongoing Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense sponsored research related to terrorism, counterterrorism, immigration enforcement, and other aspects of homeland security, and participate in an internship with DHSES.
In addition to the opportunity to work side-by-side with Rockefeller faculty on critical research and gain real-world experience working in DHSES, students will be compensated with a $10,000 stipend during their first year of study and a $9,500 stipend during the second. They will also be allowed $6,400 of travel support for participation in up to three academic or professional conferences. Students’ tuition, fees, and health insurance costs will be fully covered.

After successful completion of their course of study and graduation from the University at Albany, students accepted to the program are required to work for at least two years in a homeland security-related public or private sector job.

In the photo at top of page: (Left to right) Rockefeller Associate Dean R. Karl Rethemeyer  (seated) with T-STeP students Joseph Popcun, Tina Chang, and Patrick Campion.

Photography by Mark Schmidt

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2012 Rockefeller College News Magazine.