Here’s the Top 3 Moments from National Security 2019

June 14, 2019 The Washington Center

The Washington Center National Security Seminar 2019

Every year, The Washington Center brings together college students, faculty and experts from across the country to explore the protection of U.S. interests at home, abroad and online. Here are the top three moments from this year’s National Security Seminar:


Faculty director Neil Shortland asks students provoking questions about the ethics of torture.
Faculty director Neil Shortland asks students provoking questions about the ethics of torture.

1.) Students engaging directly with national security experts they’ve seen on the news and read about in textbooks.

Each morning, students and faculty learned about pressing national security issues from a practitioner’s viewpoint. Covering a diverse span of perspectives, the issues ranged from current topics such as the nuclear threat posed by North Korea to next-generation threats posed by climate change, artificial intelligence and quantum terrorism.

Far from a rehash of textbook material, each of the 25 speakers brought printed words on a page to life by providing their unique expert perspective on national security news.  

2.) Going behind-the-scenes to look at U.S. government in action.

Morning sessions were only a small part of the whole seminar experience — each afternoon, students and faculty from 22 schools got a behind-the-scenes look inside government agencies, embassies, think tanks and more.

Even the unplanned moments were unforgettable: Laurie Rowland, Assistant Professor Of Communication at Cleveland State Community College said, “We actually got to see Bernie Sanders up close … everybody was starstruck, because they’ve never been so close to a presidential candidate before, where you could actually reach out and touch him.”

How do these policy decisions get made? How do all these different organizations interact with each other in order to influence policy? That, along with the opportunity to network with future peers, is really valuable.

Chuck Nelson, National Security 2019 Faculty Leader and Cyber Defense Lead Instructor at Pellissippi State Community College
Students visit The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Photo Credit @TopSecColonials
Students visit The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Photo Credit: Twitter / @TopSecColonials

3.) Networking with peers and industry professionals.

Both students and faculty expanded their professional network not just by engaging with national security experts, but by learning from each other as well. Faculty leaders traded best practices with each other, while students who previously thought that interning in D.C. was an impossible dream, learned that it in fact was an achievable goal.

For many of the students that attended National Security 2019, this visit represented a lot of firsts: the first time leaving their home state, first time visiting a big city, and first time navigating a metrorail system.

Above all, it was the first time that they had an unparalleled opportunity to see a side of Washington, D.C. that not many get to see: from meeting experts they’ve only read about, to presidential candidates they’ve only seen on the news.

Interested in future National Security Seminars? Learn more here


About the Author

The Washington Center

The Washington Center is the largest and most established student internship program in Washington, D.C. Since our founding, we've helped more than 60,000 individuals from across the U.S. and around the globe expand their academic pursuits into rewarding jobs and careers. We use our scale and expertise to deliver solutions that open career pathways for learners, solve recruitment challenges for employers, while helping create greater access, equity, advancement and representation.

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