Senior Advises Students to Step Out of Their Comfort Zones During Internships

Senior Kat Calabro pictured above during a study abroad trip to Morocco.
Senior Kat Calabro pictured above during a study abroad trip to Morocco.

By the time senior Katherine (Kat) Calabro graduates in May 2017, she will have interned for four semesters in counterintelligence at Defense Security Service (DSS) in North Charleston. As part of the U.S. Department of Defense, DSS oversees the protection of U.S. and foreign classified information and technologies in the hands of cleared industry under the National Industrial Security Program by providing professional risk management services. The internship has given Kat the chance to gain hands-on experience in this field.

Although she is not able to go into great detail about her work, Kat did share that she is responsible for the research and analysis of raw intelligence data, counterintelligence reports, and drafting reports for her supervisor. The internship has enhanced her analytical, research, and writing skills along with expanding her domestic and global awareness. Kat has also gained proficiency in utilizing specific technical research tools and analytical software.

Kat’s political science coursework provided a solid foundation for her internship success. She noted that while every class has been beneficial, she particularly found Dr. Desjean’s Intelligence Community and International Terrorism and Counterterrorism courses to be extremely relevant. Kat’s previous work at a local law firm also helped her know what to expect of a professional and collaborative environment.

Along with integrating coursework and building professional skills, Kat’s internship helped solidify her interest in the Department of Defense and narrow her career focus. She always knew that she wanted to work in an intelligence field, but recently realized she wants to be an analyst.

Managing an internship, being a full-time student, and serving as President of the Political Science Club requires excellent time management skills. Kat recommends getting a lot of sleep and planning ahead. She has scheduled her classes in the morning, internship in the afternoon, and has learned to delegate tasks to other club officers.

Kat advises her peers seeking internships to consider three suggestion: –1) apply for an internship even if you don’t think you are qualified since you never know what applying can lead to; 2) get involved in campus life so you can meet new people and network; 3) don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone.

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