(Re-published from The Daily Orange | Sept. 16, 2019) Ebrar Mohammad, a recent Syracuse University graduate, wants to work for the FBI.

The FBI places employees based on need, but Mohammed hopes to stay in Syracuse. She wants to pursue an additional degree through a new SU program that promotes diversity in the intelligence field.

“If I eventually get an interview with the FBI, I plan to ask if it’s something they’d be willing to support,” she said. “Getting an advanced degree from a program like this would be an amazing opportunity.”

In June, SU was named an Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence. This designation includes a $1.5 million grant to increase diversity through intelligence field education initiatives and recruitment.

SU’s program is called the Partnership for Educational Results/Syracuse University Adaptive, Diverse and Ethical Intelligence Community Professionals, or PER/SUADE. It will partner with four other universities, one of which is a historically black university.

“Just the fact that we have students from all around the world, where else can you find that much diversity with people that are academically minded?” Mohammad said of SU.

In 2004, the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act mandated increased diversity in the intelligence. A year later, the national Intelligence Community Centers of Academic Excellence program began, which focuses on students from underrepresented groups, women, students with disabilities, rural students and military students.

According to a 2018 report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, racial minorities make up about 26% of intelligence community employees. Women make up 39% of intelligence community employees, and people with disabilities make up 11%.

“The goal of the grant is to diversify the pipeline going into the federal government and the national security fields,” said Corri Zoli, director of research at the Institute for National Security and Counter Terrorism. “We looped in diversity in very cutting edge and innovative ways, so that diversity is not just ethnicity or demographic diversity.”

Over the course of five years, the SU program will add a major, minor and certificate of advanced study, as well as graduate and doctorate degrees, said Vice Admiral Robert Murrett, deputy director of INSCT. Two of the program’s classes will be available for undergraduates in spring 2020, said Murrett.

SU’s program includes 10 “work streams,” or disciplines, related to the intelligence field. About 20 faculty and staff from different schools, colleges and offices across campus will be part of the program’s education initiative …

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