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Homeland Security Master's Degrees Awarded to 23 at Naval Postgraduate School

Twenty-three professionals who work in the homeland security field were awarded master’s degrees Sept.25 at the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security.

The graduates comprise professionals from law enforcement, fire safety, homeland security and public health. Students earning their Master of Arts in Homeland Security Studies include:

Lt. Col. Kirk Sampson, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Northern Command

Lt. Brady C. Downs, Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Coast Guard

Lt. Cmdr. R Joseph Meuse, U.S. Coast Guard

Lt. Joel Ferguson, U.S. Coast Guard

Detective Tracey Angeles, Los Angeles Police Department

Mr. Eric Bleakney, U.S. Northern Command

Assistant Chief Patrick Burke, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department

Mr. Nick Catrantzos , Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

Ms. Yi-Ru Chen, Office of the City Administrator, Executive Office of the Mayor, Washington, D.C.

Mr. Daniel Cowden, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority

Captain Reba Gonzales, Seattle Fire Department

Mr. David Heller, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Anchorage, Alaska

Mr. Mark Holmstrup, Transportation Security Administration

Mr. Vance Kuhner , U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Chief Aaron Kustermann , Illinois State Police

Captain Kirk Marlowe, Virginia State Police

Mr. Paul McNeil, Washington State Emergency Management Division

Lieutenant Sean Newman, Fire Department City of New York

Ms. Nicole Quinn, Division of Public Health, Delaware

Ms. Wendy Rude, Washington State Department of Health

Ms. Karen Sohrakoff, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Mr. Troy Sowers, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Sacramento, California

Ms. Jody Woodcock, Pierce County Emergency Management, Washington

Three students in the class were honored with special awards.

Cantrantzos won the Thesis Award. His thesis was titled "No Dark Corners: Defending Against Insider Threats to Critical Infrastructure." Theses were evaluated on: overall academic rigor; quality of the literature review; impact of the study on homeland security strategy and future research implications; quality of analysis and conclusions; quality of organization, writing and overall presentation of thesis.

Newman received the Zimbardo Award. The award honors a student who demonstrates the best understanding of the psychological aspects of terrorism and whose performance in the master’s program best embodies the highest levels of academic achievement and outstanding leadership. The honor is named after renowned Stanford University psychologist Philip Zimbardo, who also teaches at CHDS.

Burke was honored with the Curtis H. "Butch" Straub Achievement Award, which is based on grades, thesis and classroom leadership.

"These graduates bring great credit to themselves and their professions. They will join the expanding network of homeland security leaders who are shaping the future of our nation," said CHDS Director Glen Woodbury.

ABOUT CHDS: CHDS, established in 2002 and located at the 100-year-old Naval Postgraduate School (NPS), is the nation’s homeland security educator. Master’s degree students develop critical thinking, leadership and policy skills during a rigorous 18-month program. Each graduate completes a thesis on a current issue facing his/her jurisdiction. These theses often translate into policy and practice. To date, more than 300 participants have earned a Master of Arts degree in Homeland Security Studies from the Center, the first institution in the nation to offer a postgraduate degree in the homeland security field. The Center has developed a cadre of education programs and resources which are shared with other academic institutions around the country as part of its University and Agency Partnership Initiative (UAPI). The Mobile Education Team (MET) has conducted more than 150 seminars for governors and mayors and their homeland security teams. The CHDS is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), National Preparedness Directorate, within the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). For more information, visit www.chds.us.

ABOUT NPS: The mission of the Naval Postgraduate School is to provide unique advanced education and research programs in order to increase the combat effectiveness of the U.S. and Allied armed forces as well as enhance the security of the United States. For additional information, visit www.nps.edu.