FORT MEADE, Md. - A group of National Security Agency (NSA) High School Work Study (HSWS) students had the opportunity to access unique spaces behind essential missions this year.
After touring the NSA Director’s offices and the National Security Operations Center, the students closed out their program experience with a visit to the Pentagon where they met with the NSA/CSS Representative Defense (NCRDEF), who led the tour. The NCRDEF is the Agency’s senior cryptologic representative and special advisor to senior-level Department of Defense intelligence officials, policymakers, and warfighters for signals intelligence, information assurance, and cyber matters.
The NSA HSWS program facilitates school-sponsored work experience for high school students, who are hired on a temporary, part-time appointment from September until June of their senior year with the possibility of an extension through mid-August. The program is divided into three categories: administrative and technical, vocational, and language. Students are placed across NSA based on their skill sets and varying offices’ needs.
“The HSWS program is significant to the Agency because we are able to benefit from the many talents our students possess while providing them with hands-on training and opportunities to learn,” said Denisa G., a 2022-2023 HSWS lead. “The students are equipped and prepared for work roles within our organizations. Our students are awesome, knowledgeable, adaptable, and contribute greatly to the mission.”
Ritika P. created databases during her time as a HSWS student and reflected, “I've never been to the Pentagon before and [was able to learn] about its involvement with national security and collaboration with other organizations in the Intelligence Community, like NSA,” she said. “It's definitely a place I would want to work in the future.”
Logan H. worked in the Office of the General Counsel as a HSWS student and now participates in the Bridge Program. “What a memorable way to end this HSWS program year,” he said of the Pentagon trip.
Adelle J., who worked on NSA’s talent management team, agreed: “I found myself with a greater appreciation and understanding for the incredible cooperation between NSA and so many other federal components.”
Other students on the trip found it directly relevant to their former NSA job duties.
Kwynton J., also now in NSA’s Bridge program, was an intelligence analysis aide. “I wrote reports on a near day-to-day basis,” he said. “Every time I started a report, I always determined what information was important, and how it could benefit the customer. A question that stood out during our tour was, ‘What makes a good report?’ Ultimately, the answer was conciseness and traffic importance.”
The HSWS program at our Georgia, Texas, Colorado, Hawaii, and Alaska locations is open for applications until October 31, 2023. Don’t wait to submit!
While we are beyond the application deadline for the 2024 HSWS program at our Maryland location, NSA also has college programs, and much more! Visit www.intelligencecareers.gov/NSA/students-and-internships for more information.