The Charger Blog

National Security Program Prepares Students For Careers Preventing Terrorism

The University’s national security major was one of the first such academic programs developed after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It is at the forefront of preparing students to apply their skills and experiences in the public or private sectors.

October 21, 2021

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

Students in the national security program gathered around computers and chatting.
The University’s national security program prepares students for careers in the public and private sectors.

Martina Ibrahim ’21, ’22 M.S. has always been interested in exploring ways to address international crime. That’s why she decided to study criminal justice and national security at the University of New Haven, earning bachelor’s degrees in both disciplines.

Martina Ibrahim ’21, ’22 M.S.
Martina Ibrahim ’21, ’22 M.S.

Ibrahim enjoyed the myriad opportunities she had as an undergraduate student. Earlier this year, through her work as a community outreach assistant for the University of New Haven Police Department, she hosted a panel discussion that brought together prominent women in the local law enforcement community in honor of Women’s History Month. She is now continuing her education as a candidate in the University’s graduate program in national security.

“I chose the graduate program in national security because it is a field based on current events,” she said. “It requires constant learning about domestic and international threats. One of my favorite things about the program is the network I am a part of with my professors and colleagues, as they provide mentoring and a multitude of opportunities.”

One of the first such academic programs developed following the 9/11 attacks, the University’s national security program provides students the skills and knowledge they need to combat threats to the nation’s security and its way of life. The program prepares students for careers in the public sector, such as with the CIA, Department of Defense, or the FBI, as well as in the private sector.

‘I will forever be grateful for all the opportunities’

Brian Nalezynski ’22 vividly remembers the search for the suspects following the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, and he was inspired to help ensure public safety. He aspires to serve as part of the FBI’s counter-terrorism unit, investigating and helping to prevent attacks.

Brian Nalezynski ’22 (left) with his fellow servicemembers and Gov. Ned Lamont in Cuba.
Brian Nalezynski ’22 (left) with his fellow servicemembers and Gov. Ned Lamont in Cuba.

“What I like best about the national security program is how experienced the professors are,” he said. “They have federal law enforcement backgrounds, federal agency experience, and previous military service. Collectively, they cover all bases within the national security field. Having the opportunity to learn from professors who have had a career in national security gives me insight into my own future career goals.”

A Specialist in the Connecticut Army National Guard, Nalezynski is passionate about helping others and keeping them safe. His service has already enabled him to do just that, including serving at the inauguration of President Joe Biden.

“The University helped me get to where I wanted to be in my college career, and it prepared me for my future,” he said. “The professors helped me in so many ways, from answering my questions to understanding when I was called to duty with the National Guard. I will forever be grateful for all the opportunities the University presented me.”

‘I hope to work with a federal agency that will allow me to make a difference’

As part of the program, students explore the nation’s domestic security structure, international law, and the dynamics of cyber conflict. They also develop important analytical skills, such as critical thinking, data analysis, and problem solving.

Ibrahim, the national security graduate student, says she has already developed important skills that she believes will be beneficial to her throughout her career.

“The University of New Haven is providing me with an abundance of opportunities to learn about leadership and grow as a person,” she said. “I hope to work with a federal agency that will allow me to make a difference that could save people's lives.”