Intelligence students head to Cambridge

Five students in the Intelligence Department are going to spend four weeks of their summer in England at Pembroke College in the University of Cambridge with the International Security and Intelligence Programme.

The five students, Katelyn Bailey, Emily Francis, Lauren Pacileo, Julie Smicinski and Ethan Redrup are the inaugural Intelligence Cohort from Mercyhurst in the program at Cambridge.

They will be part of a group of 50 students from all over the world, studying under “leading intelligence practitioners from the Anglo-American security and intelligence communities,” said Executive Director of the Intelligence Studies Department, Jim Breckenridge, Ph.D.

“We want to establish key academic relationships with the best universities in the world. The ones that teach national security and intelligence and security studies…Cambridge is probably one of the top two universities in the world, outside of the United States, when it comes to security studies, so this was a natural partnership,” said Breckenridge.

The connection that helped bring Mercyhurst and Cambridge together came through one of Breckenridge’s daughters, who “lives in Cambridge and has a connection with one of the faculty at the Pembroke College,” he said.
“He heard about our program and asked to meet with me,” Breckenridge said. The meeting became a conversation about sending some of Mercyhurst’s Intelligence Students to study in the summer program.

The process was relatively short for students.
“In December, a ton of us got an email that said we were invited to interview for the program in Cambridge,” said Pacileo, a junior.
The students were interviewed by Breckenridge, and Professors David Grabelski and Arthur Mills, and then filled out the application provided by Cambridge.
“It was a pretty rigorous application and a very intimidating interview,” Pacileo said.

After that process, five applicants were chosen and were permitted to apply to Cambridge directly. All five were accepted.

The program is four weeks long and consists of a variety of lectures and classes for three weeks, and the students writing a thesis on topics such as nuclear proliferation, terrorism, etc. during the fourth week.

With students coming from all over the world, there are plenty of opportunities for students gain perspective on other countries’ intelligence practices.
“I’m looking forward to working with people on an intelligence level not from the U.S.,” Bailey, a junior, said.

Smicinski, a junior, gave her view on what the partnership with Cambridge means for the Intelligence program.

“I think that having this opportunity really shows that our Intelligence Studies Department is being recognized internationally and starting to lead more towards the international domain…this partnership is going to help us facilitate some sort of international agreement and help our students learn different perspectives, other than just the U.S. [perspective].”