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Students Navigate Emerging Threats and Homeland Security Issues During Research Showcase 


Students, faculty, and guests came together on April 18, 2024, to discuss significant topics in international and domestic security, as well as public safety and emergency management as part of the annual Undergraduate Homeland Security Research Showcase. Located in the EKU Stratton Building, this year’s event was special as it represented the 10th anniversary of the showcase.  

HLS Students receive awardsThis year’s event involved a juried research poster session during which 37 students presented semester-long research to participating judges reflecting faculty, staff, and homeland security professionals. The following students achieved this year’s top awards: 

  • Mathew Dodge – International Security Category Winner – Poster Topic: Iranian-Backed Terrorism: Targeting the Source 
  • Sarah Baker – Public Safety and Emergency Management Category Winner – Poster Topic: Identifying Resource Deficiencies in West Virginia Amid a Continuing Prescription Opioid Epidemic 
  • Zachary Wentz – Domestic Security Category Winner – Poster Topic: Drug Interdiction on the Southern Border: A Policy Analysis 

Each category winner was provided a modest financial award for demonstrating excellence and professionalism in undergraduate research. The showcase event also included an induction of eight students into the Homeland Security Program’s honor society, the Order of the Sword and Shield (OSS). This honor society recognizes high academic achievement and a commitment to excellence in homeland security, intelligence, emergency management and all protective security disciplines. 

The showcase highlighted the hard work of participating students while facilitating a forum for networking among students and guests. According to Chad Foster, associate professor and campus program coordinator, “the showcase provides an opportunity for students to demonstrate professionalism, a significant employability skill.” Participating in the showcase is part of a capstone activity for seniors and way to assess mastery of many essential employability skills. 

Author: Madison Anest, Graduate Assistant, Homeland Security Program 

Published 05/15/2024


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