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King University News :: Security, Intelligence, and Internships :: King University’s Lindsay Kihnel Interns with The Streit Council

BRISTOL, Tenn., Sept. 18, 2014 – Waynesville, N.C., native Lindsay Kihnel spent a portion of her summer interning, alongside graduate students, with The Streit Council for a Union of Democracies based out of Annandale, Va.

The Streit Council’s mission is to work towards better-organized and stable cooperation among the experienced democracies as the key for more effective US engagement in world affairs. The Streit Council provides a forum where policymakers and scholars explore viable answers focusing in particular on new approaches to better cooperation among democracies.

In 2013, Kihnel began attending King University, where she is studying Security and Intelligence Studies, Political Science, and Spanish. In just over a year at King, she has worked as a teaching assistant for the Political Science Department and as a tutor for the Career Success Center. She is a member of the Snider Honor’s Program. Kihnel also previously served as a House Page for the North Carolina House of Representatives.

With Kihnel’s interest in international security and intelligence matters, an internship with the Streit Council was a perfect fit. “Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis told me of the internship opportunity with the Streit Council,” said Kihnel. “I checked out their website and saw the current interns were all graduate students doing some really awesome things; they had all had some great internships in the past – and I was just a freshman. I told Dr. Fitsanakis I wasn’t sure I should apply. With it being final exams week, I was fairly stressed, and the application process was quite intensive. But, Dr. Fitsanakis encouraged me to apply.”

Kihnel went ahead with the application process. Shortly after a phone interview, she was hired. While working for the Streit Council, Kihnel spent much of her time researching and writing. “Every day I would go through articles sent to me by the Council and decipher what I would then summarize. I worked with the Transatlantic Security Section of the Streit Council. Many of the articles I summarized dealt with issues in the Ukraine, Japan, and Iran. I also wrote blog posts on policy issues.”

Kihnel’s blog posts included topics such as Nato’s cyber defense policy (http://blog.streitcouncil.org/2014/06/20/nato-policy-on-cyber-defense-have-we-learned-from-the-past/) and the U.S., Nato, and Afghan poppy policies (http://blog.streitcouncil.org/2014/06/20/nato-policy-on-cyber-defense-have-we-learned-from-the-past/).

“I know what I’m interested in; I know Dr. Fitsanakis, with his connection to the intelligence community, is looking out for me. Before I came to King, I did not like writing. I was in Honors English in high school, but we didn’t write papers that often. Since coming to King, Dr. Fitsanakis has been a great help. Dr. Kim Holloway, through Honors English, has taught me how to write amazing papers. Also, in my World Politics class with Dr. Scott Robinson, we had to write current event articles each week. This definitely helped prepare me for the work I did this summer with the Streit Council.”

“The Security and Intelligence Studies program at King is unique, especially for an undergraduate to be able to have a degree in this field,” added Kihnel. “We have so many opportunities through this program. The courses we are taking through this program, such as Counterterrorism, International Terrorism, and Intelligence Analysis places us a step ahead. Most students going into graduate school have not yet taken courses of this nature.”

The professors for King’s Security and Intelligence Studies program includes Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis, assistant professor of Political Science and director of the King Institute for Security and Intelligence Studies, and former intelligence analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Gail Helt, assistant professor of Political Science.

“For students who aim high in our field, good grades are just the beginning,” said Fitsanakis. “If they want to apply for the most competitive graduate school or professional positions out there, good grades are a good start. But, they have also to be able to demonstrate a pro-active attitude toward internships, work experience, international study, and publications, among other things. We push all of our students to pursue these opportunities at every step of the way. Lindsay is the perfect example of a student that is planning ahead and grabs these opportunities as soon as they present themselves.”

When asked what her vocational plans are in the future, Kihnel responded, “Upon graduation I plan to attend graduate school to study either international relations or security policy. After that, my goal is to work as a diplomat with the U.S. State Department.”

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