The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Federal grant for CSUN intel

CSUN recently received $57,500 from the federal government as part of a new program aimed at teaching language and culture to future intelligence professionals.

This past April, California State officials opened the new Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence (CSU-ACE), a seven-campus consortium dedicated to providing CSU students with the skills and opportunities to make them qualified for employment in the intelligence community, according to the program’s administrative assistant, Filomeno Batayola.

The program received a $3 million, five-year federal grant in September 2006 from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) funded through the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), a federal agency which provides accurate analysis of imagery and geospatial information in support of national security objectives.

The money has been divided amongst the seven chosen CSU campuses: Northridge, Bakersfield, Dominguez Hills, Fullerton, Long Beach, San Bernardino and Cal Poly Pomona.

CSUN CSU-ACE Director David Miller decides how the program functions on campus. He said while the program does not have a curriculum and does not offer any degrees, it helps pave the way for students to get careers in intelligence and learn how to apply for jobs.

The grant is budgeted to provide students with opportunities to travel abroad and will help create regional conferences and seminars on different topics relating to contemporary international politics amongst members of the consortium. There will also be presentations by CSU faculty, outside scholars and intelligence professionals.

“The intelligence community was attracted to the CSU system because we could help provide opportunities to a wider, more diverse group of students,” Batayola said, who has been working with CSU-ACE at CSU San Bernardino since last December.

Miller agrees.

“CSU-ACE is looking for students with diverse backgrounds, but we want people with diverse education backgrounds as well,” Miller said. “CSUN…CSU campuses were particularly chosen because intelligence communities wanted to reach out to change practices.

“At CSU, there are many people with diverse cultural backgrounds, or they are speakers of the 22 strategic languages.”

CSU-ACE’s curriculum on all the seven campuses focuses on a variety of studies. The unique programs include foreign language study, critical thinking and writing, national security, intelligence study and graduate studies in such related programs. It uses faculty members on each CSU campus to develop critical intelligence communication skills set for students who are interested in careers in intelligence.

According to Batayola, CSU-ACE also offers scholarship opportunities for students to travel abroad.To qualify for such scholarships, students need to become Intelligence Community Scholars within their own campuses.

The intelligence community, which is like any other private company or government agency, searches for students in all fields of interest; business, geography, computer science, political science, international relations and national security.

“Scholarships allow students to travel abroad,” Batayola said. “Exposure to different cultures and languages makes these students more competitive for job opportunities within the intelligence community.”

Batayola further added that travel-abroad scholarships have already been given out for Summer 2007, and many CSU students will be studying in a wide range of countries.

Although language skills are an important factor within the CSU-ACE, the program does not directly offer any foreign language skills. Students enrolled in the program are strongly urged to develop proficiency in languages such as Arabic, Korean, Mandarin and Farsi.

“We also have a partnership with the California State University Strategic Languages Initiative,” Batayola said, “which is directly providing CSU students with opportunities to study strategic languages. Many of these languages are already being offered by the seven campuses.”

While other CSU campuses such as Long Beach and Fullerton have initiated Mandarin and Farsi programs, CSUN is set to start off its Russian program in 2008.

According to CSUN’s SLI Director Ludmilla Posner, the Russian program will begin Summer 2008 and will offer students six weeks of classes. Students enrolled in the program will take nine units in Russian, live in the CSUN dorms and will be advised to not speak any English. Their food, dorm fees, classes, books and parking will all be free.

After summer, students in the program will take follow-up classes in the 2008-2009 school year.

“After their follow-up classes, these same students will go to Russia in Summer 2009 for six weeks for free,” said Posner, who teaches Russian and French at CSUN, adding that the funds for the program will be provided by the federal government.

Posner further explained that Russian is a very important language in California not only because there is a vast Russian community here, but because of our economic links with Russia. The Russian language and culture have become very important, especially for business majors.

Ever since it was established in Fall 2007, CSU-ACE has been representing Southern California with CSUN as a vital member of the community.

Not only has the program provided students a chance to travel abroad, but it has also provided greater access to a wide range of jobs opportunities. Now, with more than 160,000 students enrolled from a population base of 20 million, the program is helping students gain the skills needed to be competitive in the intelligence community as well as other government agencies.

While the program is still in the developmental process, Miller said that approximately 10 students have applied, and once those students are accepted, they will become intelligence community scholars.

“We are striving to get the program larger so we can get it better known around campus,” said Miller. “I’m really looking forward to see the program develop.”

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