Renewed Funding Keeps ICCAE Inspiring Intelligence Students for Five More Years  

Thomas Dolan

UCF students pursuing careers in intelligence will continue to receive competitive advantages thanks to renewed federal funding for UCF’s Intelligence Community Center for Academic Excellence (ICCAE).

The five-year funding from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence is particularly helpful for minority students, who are historically underrepresented in intelligence careers. ICCAE Director Tom Dolan anticipates investing the second round of funding into more scholarships and growing the internship program.

“We want the makeup of the intelligence community to more closely resemble America’s demographics,” Dolan said. “It should be informed by a wider base of understanding.”

While the Hollywood image of intelligence brings up images of fast cars and shaken martinis, the available careers are far broader and varied than spy craft. While the CIA and FBI are obvious employers, each military branch, the Department of Defense, the National Security Agency and even the Department of Energy has an intelligence sector. Demand is high for students bringing a variety of backgrounds, including developing tools for analysis using STEM.

Educating students about those jobs and helping them attain them is the purpose of ICCAE.

“I have a strong commitment to seeing students succeed after college, and this is a really great tool to help people do that,” Dolan said.

Part of Dolan’s strategy is scholarships, not just for funding studies but helping students financially during an unpaid internship. UCF’s ICCAE often hears of students who qualify for an internship, but simply cannot afford to take it. This will mitigate those circumstances and provide not just experience in their chosen field, but make their resume more attractive, Dolan said.

ICCAE is also committed to opening up access to leaders in the intelligence community. Pre-Covid-19, this would look like a guest speaker coming to campus, but virtual events are still an option. This provides a window into the day-to-day operations of an intelligence bureau, as well as open networking opportunities for building connections.

“Succeeding in intelligence is about much more than taking classes,” Dolan said. “What we’re doing is setting up students for success in a much more holistic fashion.”



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