CHDS Congratulates New Graduates

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The Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security’s Master’s Program held commencement exercises for 27 federal, state, and local homeland security officials on Friday, March 28. This marks the eighth commencement ceremony of the program that to date has produced over 178 graduates from around the country.

In conjunction with their graduation success, select CHDS students and faculty were honored with a variety of awards at the University’s Winter Quarter 2008 Awards Ceremony.

Judy Boyd, Attorney for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, was selected as the winner of the Outstanding Thesis Award for her dissertation entitled, “Introducing the Future Now: Using Memetics and Popular Culture to Identify the Post-9/11 Homeland Security Zeitgeist.” The nominated theses were evaluated on the following criteria: 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.

“Her topic is very original; the field of memetics is still nascent,” said CHDS Managing Director of Academic Programs, Dr. Lauren Wollman. “Her analysis will be of great interest to academics and policy-makers alike since no one has looked at this data before. It is not only likely to generate a lot of interest and discussion in the country about what Homeland Security ‘means’, but academically raises the bar for our program by several notches.”

Jennifer Kliska, Senior Policy Analyst at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was presented the Zimbardo Award. This award is given to a graduating 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. Her ground-breaking thesis is titled, “The Evolving Role of Humanitarian Immigration Policy in the Context of Homeland Security.’

“Jennifer displays a broad vision of DHS mission regarding culture and immigration issues that is rare in its depth and its insightfulness. She accurately portrays the psychology of In and Out group differences and the way immigration issues have become politically aggressive in manipulating public sentiment. In addition, she contributed to our class discussions with well articulated original views,” said CHDS Professor, Dr. Phillip Zimbardo.

Sara Fisher, Emergency Response and Security Manager for the California Administrative Office of the Courts, was selected as the winner of the Curtis H. “Butch” Straub Achievement Award. She was nominated for the award by fellow classmates for her excellent grades, her outstanding thesis, “Justice Secured: Implementing a Risk Based Approach to Court Security,” and help in providing leadership and energy for the CHDS MA Program.

The Lieutenant Commander David L. Williams Outstanding Professor Award was presented to CHDS Professor, Robert Simeral. The award is presented to a faculty member of the School of International Graduate Studies who has demonstrated the greatest dedication and therefore had the greatest impact on learning and intellectual growth of students, in residence and abroad.

Simeral joined CHDS in April 2004. His NPS course, Intelligence for Homeland Security: Organizational and Policy Challenges, examines the issues facing the U.S. intelligence community and its role in homeland security and homeland defense in a post 9/11 world. Students have the opportunity to fully address policy, organizational and substantive issues regarding homeland security intelligence, identify the compelling attributes of intelligence support and contribute to the evolution of a national intelligence enterprise. This innovative course challenges students to discuss, debate, and research options that will effectively deter and prevent terrorism. Simeral says he learns from all of his CHDS students and believes NPS and CHDS are making a distinct difference in advancing the concepts of homeland security intelligence. “Bob continues to deliver high quality instruction, push the envelope of Intelligence strategy and policy for CHDS and DOD, and bring credit to NPS and the nation,” said CHDS Executive Director, Ted Lewis.

All of the graduates have made a significant impact on CHDS throughout their time at NPS. “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.

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