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King University News :: Security and Intelligence Students Visit FBI Field Office; Attend Security Conference

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Thirty Security and Intelligence Studies (SIS) students at King University travelled to Knoxville on Oct. 24 to attend the “Emerging Challenges to US and Global Security” conference held at the Howard H. Baker JR Center for Public Policy. While there, students also spent time visiting with agents at the new state-of-the-art FBI field office for Tennessee, located in Knoxville. The trip was sponsored by the King Institute for Security and Intelligence Studies (KISIS) along with the King University Security and Intelligence Studies Group (KSI).

“Students were treated to a rare special tour of the FBI field office,” said Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis, assistant professor of Political Science and director of the King Institute for Security and Intelligence Studies. Prior to meeting with FBI agents, students experienced what a true FBI search of a person is all about as each had to submit to being searched upon entering the complex. Once inside, students were given an exceptional experience by touring the FBI gun vault.

“Upon completion of the tour, students were given the opportunity to speak one-on-one with FBI recruiters. Agents with whom the students met included Special Agent Sally Little, an outreach specialist for the FBI,” said Fitsanakis.

Fitsanakis added, “Many of our students have serious interest in working with the FBI or other agencies in the intelligence community. This is the first time many of the students have had the opportunity to talk with an FBI special agent and ask them direct questions about what they should or should not do to make their applications stand out from the larger pool of candidates.”

Royce Nichols is a senior majoring in Neuroscience with a double minor in Chemistry and Security and Intelligence Studies. He is interested in George Mason University’s master’s and PhD programs in Biodefense Studies and plans to work for the government after completing graduate school. “My experience at the FBI Field Office in Knoxville reinstated my desire to work for the government. I was able to meet with individuals who share the same passion, interest, and dedication in stopping threats from both the international and domestic arena. Additionally, I was able to get a ‘hands on’ approach on what it takes to work for the government. This allowed me to find specific departments for which I may be best suited.”

Tiffany Hicks will graduate in 2016 with a major in Spanish with a double minor in Security and Intelligence Studies and Psychology. “After graduating from King, I plan to seek out a career in the intelligence community. While at the FBI Field Office, I learned many details and helpful hints including what the FBI is looking for while recruiting. The information I obtained about which languages and majors they are looking for helped me better adjust my classes and actions as I move forward towards my goal of working in the intelligence community.”

“The trip to the FBI field office has been the highlight of my junior year,” commented Brooke Widner, a Forensic Science major minoring in Security and Intelligence Studies. “The trip really demystified the FBI as a whole, and made the organization appear as a more feasible workplace opportunity. When I am able to do so, I would love to work with the FBI in a laboratory setting.

Widner added, “King has provided me with opportunities that I could not have gotten anywhere else. The SIS minor in particular has helped prepare me to one day begin a career with the government. Most importantly, through King, I have discovered possible careers and opportunities for advancement that were previously unknown to me.”

In addition to their fruitful experience at the FBI field office, students spent the evening participating in a conference held at the Howard H. Baker JR Center for Public Policy at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. Students attended the “Emerging Challenges to US and Global Security” conference. The panel discussion led by Brandon Prins, Baker fellow and associate professor of Political Science, included Dave Brule of Purdue University discussing the implications of US interventions; Susan Allen of the University of Mississippi speaking on security implications of underdevelopment and inequality; Victor Asal of the State University of New York Albany talking about terrorism; Matt Fuhrmann of Texas AM speaking about nuclear proliferation; and Krista Weigand of Georgia Southern University discussing territorial conflicts and how they affect US foreign policy.

“The conference’s target audience was mostly senior researchers for the Howard H. Baker JR Center for Public Policy,” said Fitsanakis. “Some graduate students were in attendance, but King University was the only group afforded the opportunity to have undergraduate students present.”

“King has prepared me well for a career with the FBI or other government agencies,” said Nichols. “The SIS program provides me with the knowledge needed to excel in high stress environments, such as the FBI. My Neuroscience background allows me to think analytically while working through complex issues. Being able to perform under pressure and think through complex issues is a result of the rigorous classwork and research provided by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis (SIS) and Dr. Vanessa Fitsanakis (Neuroscience). Due to their dedication in providing students with an excellent education, I am that much more prepared for graduate school and beyond.”

For more information about King’s Security and Intelligence Studies program, contact Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis at 423.652.6014 or or visit


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 sports. 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, Richlands, VA 24641.