Wednesday, Apr. 02, 2014

Successful Faith Students

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Successful Faith Students

April is the Month of the Military Child and each week we will feature one or two former Faith Middle School students who are doing something they love - whether they are at the starting point of their career or are several years in. Success will be defined as achieving personal goals, no matter what they may be.

Jennifer Holland, a special agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, attended Faith Middle School from fall 1991 to spring 1994.

Q: Explain a typical day in your current job.

A: There is never a typical day for me, which is one of the things I like about my job. Just like the TV show NCIS, our job is to protect the Air Force from criminals, terrorists and spies. One day I could be interviewing an Airman about selling drugs and the same afternoon I could be examining the crime scene of a person who was killed or died accidentally. The next day I may be talking to informants about a suspicious car surveying the base or investigating someone who compromised classified information (on accident or on purpose).

Q: What led you to this career path?

A: I attended four different high schools moving around with my father, who was active-duty Army (Columbus High School in Columbus, Vicenza High School in Italy, Heidelberg High School in Germany and Carlisle High School in Carlisle, Penn.), which got me interested in international relations. Also, I graduated college right after 9/11 and wanted to be involved in keeping the country safe from future terrorist attacks.

Q: What is your education background?

A: I attended American University in Washington, D.C., for my Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Foreign Policy and then attended the National Intelligence University located at the Defense Intelligence Agency in Washington and received my Masters of Strategic Intelligence. Currently, I teach online classes at Henley-Putnam University in terrorism-related topics.

Q: Have you had any other jobs?

A: I was hired right out of college to be a special agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, so I have been with them for almost 12 years now. My first assignment was in Yokota, Japan, I worked mostly in counterintelligence, meaning I regularly talked to local Japanese contacts to identify potential terrorist threats to the air base. We would report this information to the base commander and he would make a determination as to the threat levels for the base. The next job I had was as an interrogator in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. I would interrogate the terrorists we had detained there to determine their crimes and work with the lawyers to get their cases in front of the military commissions.

Then I was deployed to Qatar, and later forward deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan as a liaison officer assisting the counter-threat mission (identifying threats to the airbases). Since then I have been working in internal affairs, which means I investigate internal matters (crimes and misconduct) to ensure the integrity of our organization.

Q: What was it like for you as a military child?

A: I loved living overseas with my family and learning about other cultures, but it was very hard on me having to move so often. Making friends and leaving them the very next year was painful and upsetting for me and at the time I had a hard time understanding why we had to move. Luckily, everyone else was going through the same thing so I found it easier to make friends once I got to a new place. I think this is one of the best things about the military culture - the sense of community and openness to new people. My favorite things about attending Faith Middle School were being a part of the Odyssey of the Mind team with Libbie Kurnic, Anne Shaw's Industrial Arts class and learning about Beowulf in Anne Trawick's English class.

Q: What would you say to today's generation of military children?

A: Do your best to keep in touch with your military friends. Besides your Family, your civilian friends will never really understand you the same way a military friend will. During some summers, my sisters were my only friends until school started. Take advantage of all of the opportunities the military offers; swim lessons, community clubs, summer camps to try and meet new people as soon as possible. It will make the transition easier. Try and remember that lots of other people are in the same situation so approach other people and be friendly instead of waiting for them to approach you.

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