ASU Online students, alumni network in DC
Current, past students of Master of Arts in global security gathered for reception in nation's capital
In September, the School of Politics and Global Studies at Arizona State University hosted its first Washington, D.C., reception for current students, alumni and faculty of the ASU Online Master of Arts in global security program.
"From day one, our MA in global security has emphasized networking and creating new career opportunities not just for our students, but also for our alums,” said Magda Hinojosa, professor and director of the School of Politics and Global Studies.
“I was humbled to be in the room with individuals who had incredible life stories,” said Michael Lapadot, a current global security student and service member in the U.S. Army. “I had never met anyone at the reception in person before, but as soon as I arrived, I felt that I was meeting with teammates.”
This event, which took place at ASU's Barrett & O'Connor Washington Center, is part of a broader effort to connect students, alumni and faculty of the online program based on areas around the world they are located.
“Washington, D.C., is the center of activity in global security and home to our largest concentration of alumni outside Arizona, so there are tremendous opportunities in the area for our students to network, learn and advance their careers,” said Thomas Just, a lecturer with the School of Politics and Global Studies.
The reception took place the night before the Future Security Forum, which is jointly hosted by New America and ASU's Center on the Future of War, among others. Attendees were able to meet and engage with Peter Bergen, who is the vice president of global studies and fellows at New America, the co-director of the Center on the Future of War and a professor of practice with the School of Politics and Global Studies.
“We have the privilege of working with an amazing group of graduate students from diverse backgrounds,” said Daniel Rothenberg, professor of practice in the School of Politics and Global Studies, co-director of the Center on the Future of War and co-director of the grad program.
“It is exciting to stay in touch with our students after they graduate as part of our commitment to creating and sustaining a vibrant intellectual and professional community focused on addressing pressing global security challenges.”
Lapadot shared that the graduate program has helped him identify mentors and professional career goals. He hopes to continue to stay connected because of the diverse group of alumni.
“D.C. is full of people who are at the cutting edge of national security policy, intelligence and/or commercial technology,” Lapadot said. “This reception connected people from all of these backgrounds. Given the university's relationship with New America, the McCain Institute, etc., I think ASU can really establish a footprint in D.C.”
Jennifer Abdulla, who graduated in 2021 with her master’s degree in global security and works in the intelligence field (nuclear security), attended the reception as well, noting networking as an “important part of exploring career opportunities.”
She looks forward to more events like this that provide opportunities for mentorship between students and alumni of the program.
“It was good to be able to provide insights to new students,” Abdulla said. “It was also great to meet a couple of my former professors.”
Chris Conte, another global security alum in attendance, has credited the program in helping him navigate his career path over the last few years. He has been pleasantly surprised with how engaging the faculty and fellow students have been.
“I believe one of the best things a person can do to set themselves up for success professionally is to surround themselves with high-level individuals and build a strong network of quality people around them,” said Conte. “The program is filled with outstanding people in both the faculty and student base, and staying connected with this community certainly has put me in a better position to tap into the well of connections that expand from the MAGS program.”
He credits the leadership of the program for building a community within the student and alumni base.
“While often times online education can feel artificial and distant, the MAGS program does a great job at overcoming some of these challenges,” said Conte. “Seeing as many faces as I did at the reception just shows how many other MAGS members feel the connection to community within the program and how strong the potential is for this network to continue to grow.”
The event brought together members of the global security MA community who work for a number of employers such as the FBI, Voice of America, Verizon and the Departments of State, Defense and Homeland Security.
The School of Politics and Global Studies plans to offer more engagement opportunities in the future as the number of students and alumni continue to grow from the MA in global security, its cybersecurity concentration and global security and competitive statecraft graduate certificate.