NISA attendees engage former CIA specialist Mel Gamble, second from left, and UNG’s Dr. Edward Mienie, right, in a discussion during a lunch break at NISA. 

[Note: This article is a modified version of an article from the UNG Newsroom that originally appeared in July 2023.] 

 This summer, forty-seven high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors had the opportunity to attend the second annual National Intelligence Summer Academy (NISA). UNG hosted the week-long program on the Cumming Campus for these high school students who traveled from Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Texas. The academy concluded with a visit to UNG’s Dahlonega Campus where the attendees met UNG President Michael Shannon and learned about the Corps of Cadets and some of UNG’s academic programs. 

 Professor of strategic and security studies Dr. Edward L. Mienie, executive director of UNG’s Strategic Studies Program & Partnerships, said he was “amazed to see that these students were keen to learn more about the role that strategic intelligence plays in helping to safeguard our nation’s national security interests. I was pleasantly surprised by some of the students who had read up on intelligence even before the camp started and impressed to see their critical thinking skills displayed by asking complex and insightful questions,” 

 The event also offered an opportunity for attendees to learn about the programs offered at UNG. Stephen Medlin III, a high school senior from Raleigh, North Carolina, a dual enrollment student at Wake Technical Community College came with an interest in Army ROTC and wanted to narrow the focus of his career. 

“Army ROTC interests me, especially as an officer. I thought after I finish my career in the Army I could go into an agency, so I just wanted to explore my options to see what I want to do afterward,” Medlin said. “My major would be strategic and security studies at UNG.”  

 Speakers included retired and active individuals representing the National Security Agency, Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, military intelligence, and the former Soviet KGB. This wide array of speakers certainly created a draw for students and teachers alike as this year’s program had five teachers representing high schools in the State of Georgia auditing the lessons. 

 “It is our hope that as we continue to offer NISA camps in the future, Georgia high schools will designate more teachers to audit the camp to help introduce ‘Introduction to U.S. Intelligence and National Security Studies’ as an elective course at their school,” Dr. Mienie said. “Our aim is that every high school in the state of Georgia, and beyond, will offer their students the opportunity to study the world of national intelligence.” 

 [Author: Gabi Bartlett, IA ‘23]