School is back in session and in full swing, and that means it’s time to announce the winners of the GMR Transcription Scholarship Program! This scholarship awards a $500 scholarship to two college students for not only demonstrating high scholastic standards, but also, for diversification in their extracurricular activities and financial needs. Of the plethora of applicants this term, we have finally narrowed it down to two.
Today, we will be sharing the inspiring story of Naomi McMillen and her Striving for Success:
Even the loftiest goals can be achieved with careful planning and persistence. Individuals from Bill Gates to Barack Obama have accomplished great endeavors not because of luck or nepotism but because they envisioned a future for themselves and did everything in their power to make it a reality. Success was not handed to them, but was a direct result of years of hard work and dedication. Although I don’t aspire to be the world’s richest person or an American president, I employ the same philosophy – a philosophy rooted in the notion that you have to position yourself for success – in my pursuit of my goals. Through my academic studies, my work and internship experience, and my extracurricular activities, I hope to achieve my career aspiration of becoming an intelligence analyst for the United States government. The GMR Transcription Scholarship, coupled with my meticulous planning and preparation, will ensure that I can realize my dream and succeed in my future endeavors.
One way in which I am positioning myself for success in U.S. intelligence is through my academic studies. As a M.A. degree student in international security at the University of Denver, I am afforded the opportunity to immerse myself in subject matter that is directly related to my chosen career path. My formal academic course-load consists of three classes that give me greater theoretical, methodological, and substantive knowledge of the American intelligence community: Theory of International Politics, Defense Methods and Analysis, and Intelligence and National Security. Theory of International Politics offers insight into some of the most perplexing questions in the field of international relations such as the reason for war and when tyranny should be tolerated, among others. The theoretical knowledge that I gain from this course will help me be a better intelligence analyst because I will be able to discern meaningful, recurring patterns of political behavior over a myriad of issues. My Defense Methods and Analysis class, on the other hand, focuses on strengthening quantitative and qualitative research skills and tools of policy analysis. Because I hope to employ empirical methods and big data in my future career, this course is of particular interest to me. I will leave this class with a thorough understanding of research design and will have acquired the tools that I need to formulate and test my own hypotheses. My third class, Intelligence and National Security, provides me with substantive knowledge about the American intelligence establishment that I have not learned anywhere else. I am thrilled to gain such intricate expertise in a topic that fascinates me so much. This trio of courses, as well as the others I will enroll in as my time at the University of Denver progresses, will surely prepare me for my dream job as an intelligence analyst.
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In addition to my academic studies, I have also sought to position myself for success in the intelligence community through my varied internship and work experiences. Although I have held a plethora of work and internship positions during my undergraduate years, my most meaningful experiences did not come until after I graduated with my B.A. in 2011. Upon graduating, I acquired a job as a paralegal at a firm specializing in immigration law. This position – which I held for three years – taught me how to work in a high pressure environment while meeting strict deadlines. I also gained a better understanding of international issues impacting immigration and the flow of immigrants to the United States (i.e. human rights conditions and regional instability) as well as work with the Department of Homeland Security. My internship at the National Bureau of Asian Research – a leading international policy think-tank - has also helped position me for success as an intelligence analyst. Throughout the year-long internship experience I learned that accurate and reliable intelligence can shape the outcomes of disputes between nations, and that bad intelligence and security policies can lead to unfathomable suffering through war. I also learned that it is up to the younger generation, my generation, to come up with the solutions to solving vexing security dilemmas that are growing more troublesome by the day. I plan on using the hands-on experience that I gained as a paralegal and intern to succeed as an intelligence analyst for the United States government.
Not only have my academic studies and work and internship experiences positioned me for career success, but I have also engaged in extracurricular activities that will help me achieve my goals. Prior to moving to Denver one month ago, I was involved in volunteer activities in my hometown of Seattle, Washington. I served as a city commissioner on the Seattle Human Rights Commission for one year, where I was able to consult the mayor and city council on issues concerning human rights in our community, such as homelessness, indigenous peoples’ rights, and police accountability. Through this activity not only did I discover how the municipal political process works, but also how to work with a diverse group of individuals toward a common objective. While still living in Seattle, I had the honor of presenting at academic conferences in Ogden, Utah and Washington D.C. Being forced to present my ideas to an audience strengthened my verbal communication skills significantly, something I must admit isn’t a strong point of mine. Since moving to Denver, I have been involved in volunteer activities with an environmental non-profit, Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado. I hope to become more involved in my community and my school as I settle in to my new place of residence. These varied experiences have given me both the skills and confidence needed to succeed as an intelligence analyst.
Despite my well thought out planning and preparation, a major hurdle stands in the way of me achieving my career aspiration of becoming an intelligence analyst for a government agency such as the C.I.A. or Defense Intelligence Agency: money. Even after adding up my federal aid ($20,000) and scholarships ($15,000), I still have $13,000 in unmet financial need. Even though private student loans are an option, I would like to do everything in my power to pay for my school without unnecessary loan debt. The GMR Transcription Scholarship would help ease a significant monetary burden by eliminating roughly 7.6% of my unmet financial need. I don’t want to let finances prevent me from achieving a goal that I have worked so hard to make possible. Currently, this is one of the only obstacles standing in my way. If awarded the GMR Transcription Scholarship, I would be able to devote more of my time to my studies instead of stressing out about where my next tuition payment will come from. I do plan on working hard to meet my unmet financial need, but the GMR Transcription Scholarship would make this seemingly insurmountable task a little easier.
Some of the most daunting missions have been accomplished due to a meticulous attention to planning and preparation. Bill Gates became the richest man on Earth not because a stroke of luck, but because he took the steps necessary to realize his dream. Barack Obama became the President of the United States not due to nepotism, but due to years of hard work put into developing his skills and repertoire. These two individuals, and countless others, have achieved their goals because they have positioned themselves for success, instead of waiting for success to come to them. I also believe that in order to realize my dream of becoming an intelligence analyst for the U.S. government, I must position myself for success through strategic academic planning, preparation, and persistence. Through my academic studies, work and internship experiences, and extracurricular activities, I hope to achieve my career aspiration of becoming an intelligence analyst for the United States government. The GMR Transcription Scholarship will help me get there, and give me a boost of confidence along the way.