So the 21-year-old from Midlothian, Virginia, is pursuing a degree in homeland security at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Someone with a background in homeland security might gather intelligence, work port security, work for emergency management organizations, or take part in anti-terrorist initiatives. Homeland security professionals are responsible for securing borders, combating terrorism in terms of policy of intelligence, ensure infrastructure stability, and deal with current crises while preparing for future ones.
Interested in preparing for this fairly new field? You should have strong analytical skills, a working knowledge of history and government agencies, and the ability to work well with others and in groups.
“You have to be right every day; terrorists only have to be right one day,” says Grier. “Disasters can occur at any time and without warning; it’s virtually impossible to cover all of your bases.” That uncertainty can make the job difficult. But Grier says the reward is that you can give back to your country and defend the principles it was founded on.
Megan Pace Samford, 20, felt compelled to serve the country after the attacks of 9/11. Samford is now a junior in VCU’s homeland security program. She recommends developing your analytical, critical thinking, critical reading, logic, reason, and language skills in college. She also recommends keeping your record clean.
Homeland security majors take classes in risk and vulnerability assessment, emergency planning and incident management, terrorism, strategic planning, the intelligence community and process, and constitutional issues.
“Focus on history, particularly the two world wars and the changes warfare has undergone since then,” Grier says. “Also keep in mind that it is impossible to defend yourself against a nation when you don’t know their history and culture. Watch the news every day. Learn all that you can! Knowledge is power.”
Get an up-close look at the world of possibilities in the emerging area of homeland security and emergency preparedness. Visit www.vcu.edu/homeland to watch videos, learn about job opportunities and read news stories about this exciting and unique new major at VCU.