IC-CAE Established at USC

| July 14, 2020

Collaboration among Viterbi and Dornsife and Partner Colleges Helps Students Decode Security

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The Intelligence Community Center for Academic Excellence (IC-CAE), a new center at USC through the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences founded in conjunction with collaborating universities across the country, will bring together engineering and international relations students to study the fields of national security and intelligence.

The field of national security encompasses a wide range of opportunities for students, and USC IC-CAE was established to ensure equal opportunity to understand the inner workings of this field.

“With this new program, we are providing opportunities for students at USC, as well as students at minority-serving, non-PhD-granting institutions to understand how science and technology relate to a broader, national security context,”said Brandi Jones, the Vice Dean for Diversity and Strategic Initiatives at USC Viterbi and co-director of the Center.

The initiative is predicated on the idea that it is critical to the US national security to cultivate participation from people who come at the field from diverse backgrounds, cultures and cognitive approaches not only to provide options to broaden students’ personal choices but to enrich the intelligence field with a multitude of perspectives that inform future policymaking.

“Our goal is to stimulate conversations between scientists and technologists and international relations and policy experts,” said Michelle Povinelli, Gabilan Distinguished Professor in Science and Engineering and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Physics and Astronomy and director of USC IC-CAE. “The ability to communicate across disciplines is key to understanding and responding to technological challenges.”

USC is leading the effort, drawing together a consortium of schools that includes Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, San Jose State and Santa Monica College.

This summer, approximately 25 students from participating schools are taking part in an online internship program and will learn from thought leaders on a range of topics, including international affairs and cybersecurity. “Our faculty team has come together to plan and deliver a unique learning experience that draws on the collective expertise of the group,” said Povinelli.

Students will be mentored by USC experts including Michael Orosz of USC Viterbi’s Information Science Institute, Gregory F. Treverton, professor of the Practice of International Relations and Spatial Sciences, and Maura Godinez, adjunct professor of the practice in International Relations. A complimentary seminar series will expose students to topics at the intersection of technology and national security, with speakers including Col. [R] Steven D. Fleming, professor of the Practice of Spatial Sciences and Institute for Creative Technologies.

The initiative is part of a nationwide network of Intelligence Community Centers for Academic Excellence.

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