By: Jillian Wilschke—
Muncie, Indiana — For Ball State student Nicolas Egierski of Granger, Indiana, a junior computer science major and ROTC cadet, putting his skills learned in the classroom to good use was just one of many unique opportunities offered through his internship with the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), which manages the United States’ intelligence satellites.
“During my time as an intern last summer, I was placed in a special programs office that focused on delivering automated capabilities to discover, discern, and discriminate pertinent activity, generate relevant tips, and provide Global Situational Awareness,” Egierski said. “An everyday example of an automated tipping capability would be a home alarm system triggered when a burglar breaks in. My specific project was to use my knowledge as a computer science major to provide a proof of concept model that leveraged existing resources to improve efficiency, discoverability, and relevancy of intelligence combined through more than one source.”
By the close of his six weeks with the NRO, near Washington D.C., he completed his assigned project and prepared it for future development within the office. Egierski has a conditional offer to return next summer as an intern for NRO.
“I feel extremely blessed and fortunate to have had this opportunity,” Egierski said. “Ball State prepared me the best it could. A lot of the internship was unpreparable because the intelligence community is kept very private. However, the computer science department did an excellent job preparing me for the technical skills I needed.
“Very few cadets get to fulfill internships like this one. It is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity, as I am one of few Army ROTC cadets in the entire nation to receive it.”
This internship was part the Military Summer Internship Program (M-SIP). Egierski submitted a basic application, and after a conditional acceptance offer, he experienced an intensive investigation and polygraph in order to be cleared for top secret sensitive compartmented information (top secret SCI) security clearance. If individuals are approved for clearance, they’re able to fully accept the internship offer. For Egierski, his acceptance meant he would gain ample experience applicable to his future.
“My NRO internship will help me in the future in a multitude of ways,” Egierski said. “I’ve gained significant experience working in the intelligence community, which offers me a perspective that many individuals never receive. Additionally, working alongside senior military, civilian contractors, and Department of Defense civilians in one location and all for the same mission, I was offered a lot of career path advice.”
For more information on Ball State’s ROTC program, visit bsu.edu/rotc.
About Ball State
Founded in 1918 and located in Muncie, Ball State is one of Indiana’s signature universities and an economic driver for the state. Ball State’s nearly 22,000 students come from all over Indiana, the nation, and the world, and its 780-acre campus is large enough to accommodate premier facilities and 19 NCAA Division I sports but small enough to ensure the friendliness, personal attention, and access that are the hallmarks of the university.