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King University News :: National Security Council Representative’s Visit Focuses on Federal Career Opportunities and Public Service

Federal career opportunities and public service were the hot topic on campus at King University on Monday, Sept. 30.  Students were treated to a visit by Joyce Connery, director of nuclear energy policy within the Office of International Economics on the National Security Council.

King University was selected to host Connery after submitting an application to the Partnership for Public Service’s Call to Serve Speakers Bureau. As a member of the Call to Serve network, King University regularly works with the Partnership for Public Service, the Office of Personnel Management and other federal agencies to inform students about internship and job opportunities within the federal government.

“We are grateful to the Partnership for Public Service and their Speakers’ Bureau for making Joyce Connery’s visit to King University possible,” said Donna Felty, director of career development for King University.  “The experiences she has had in her career with the government were inspiring to our students. I hope she has motivated some of our students to look more closely into careers in public service.  She is a dynamic role model who has been influential in forming nuclear energy policy not only in the United States but throughout the world.  This is truly government at its best.”

Lauren Miller, a King junior majoring in Biology and minoring in Security and Intelligence Studies, stated, “I believe that Joyce Connery's visit to King University was an excellent introduction to the bright and prospective future for many students here at King. Her inspiring words of advice and direction have provided a guide for many students in pursuit of a career with the federal government.  I found my interaction with Ms. Connery to be very inspirational; she was willing to answer any questions that I had, and provide insight into what my future may hold.  Her visit has been very beneficial, providing me with contacts along with a better understanding of the opportunities that lie ahead.”

Over the course of her visit, Connery gave several lectures on the importance of public service and career possibilities with the federal government to Science Seminar and Security and Intelligence Studies students and spent quality time one-on-one with students and faculty and staff during several smaller gatherings. 

“As a Physics major hoping to one day work for the federal government, the opportunity to meet Joyce Connery was incredible,” said Austin Patrick.  Patrick is a junior at King with a double major in Physics and Math.  He also serves as the Student Government Association vice president. 

Patrick added, “I am so thankful for her insight and wisdom, which have helped me to further focus my career goals and put me one step closer to achieving the future I’ve always dreamed for myself.”

Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis, director of the King Institute for Security and Intelligence Studies, said, “Ms. Connery's visit exemplified the opportunities that students in King’s Security and Intelligence Studies program have on a regular basis. In this case, they were able to interact on a personal basis with a White House official who briefs the President of the United States on matters of nuclear security. It has been an invaluable experience for our students, to be able to confer with a security insider who operates on such a high level in our federal government. It is these kinds of opportunities that set King apart in our region, and highlight our program as a national leader in undergraduate SIS education.”

Brittany Linkous is a King University senior with a double major in Cellular and Molecular Biology Political Science and History, with a minor in Security and Intelligence Studies.  After meeting with Ms. Connery, Brittany commented, “Joyce Connery is an inspiration for undergraduate students, regardless of their particular major, to seek out a job that ‘trips your trigger daily.’ The knowledge she shared with the students on Monday not only emphasized the variety of opportunities that are available to the upcoming work force but also the importance of knowing yourself and the career that suits your personality. Her presence at King has opened up new possibilities for students, especially in the STEM majors, to seek out careers at the federal level that may not have previously been known to them.”

Connery was appointed director of nuclear energy policy in early 2012. In this position, she works to develop policy among agencies, and align and coordinate programs covering safety, security and nuclear trade. Previously, Connery served as senior policy advisor to the deputy secretary of energy. Prior to that post, she was director for threat reduction and nuclear energy cooperation in the Office of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Coordinator at the National Security Council. She served under both the Bush and Obama administrations and was responsible for nuclear Cooperative Threat Reduction programs; the Nuclear Security Summit, President Obama’s four-year effort to secure vulnerable nuclear materials; international nuclear energy policy and bilateral nuclear security and trade agreements. 

King University is headquartered in Bristol, Tenn., and has established 14 campuses and locations across Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. King University also offers degree programs online. 


King University is a Presbyterian, master's-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities.  Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing.  A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity athletic teams. For more information about King University, visit King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University is certified by SCHEV to operate locations in Virginia. For more information, contact the King University office at Southwest Virginia Community College, 309 College Road, Richland’s, and VA 24641.