This post is part of a profile series on NPSIAns and their summer work experiences. If you have any questions for the student profiled, please refer to their contact information at the bottom of this post.
Name: Michael Shkolnik (Ph.D. Candidate)
Position title: Intelligence Analyst / Research Coordinator
Workplace: [Private Washington D.C. based Counterterrorism Agency]
-> I also serve as a research coordinator for the Canadian Centre of Intelligence and Security Studies based at NPSIA.
-> Research Assistant with Dr. Jeremy Littlewood on the Future of Terrorism (2015-2025) Project.
NPSIA cluster: Conflict Analysis & Resolution
Position obtained through the Carleton co-op process?: No
Undergrad school: University of Western Ontario
Major: Honours Economics and Political Science
Graduate school: IDC Herzliya [Israel]
Major: Counterterrorism & Homeland Security;
What is your commute to work like?
Centretown is the best place to live in Ottawa – right off Elgin. Awesome nightlife and it is perfectly located in between Carleton University and downtown. The bus to campus might be kind of rough in the winter (20 min.) but its worth living close to the Elgin bar scene and the Market.
How would you describe the dress code at your work?
In Washington D.C., darker suits and ties.
At NPSIA, slacks and fluorescent dress shirts (self-imposed); sometimes a backwards Raptors hat.
Are there many other NPSIAns at your workplace?
Uri Marantz, fellow Ph.D. Candidate, also works as research coordinator with me at the Canadian Centre of Intelligence and Security Studies.
We will have some awesome workshop and conference plans coming up to share with all of you!.
What are the lunch options like nearby your work?
There’s a shawarma place on every corner in this city.
Shawarma is the best food in the world and who cares if we all reek of garlic.
Feeling like the Jewish James Bond.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
Working on multiple, demanding projects simultaneously under tight deadlines.
What is an average day like for you?
I work remotely for a private counter-terrorism agency based in Washington D.C., monitoring Middle East developments and insurgent organizations, mainly ISIS, regional al-Qaeda affiliates, Hamas, and Hezbollah. I oversee intelligence coming in from a variety of sources and manage a team of researchers. I also write detailed and timely analyses and reports for various clients, in addition to briefing senior officials and law enforcement agencies.
As research coordinator for the Canadian Centre of Intelligence and Security Studies (CCISS), I help manage Canada’s first and only university centre dedicated to intelligence and national security research, promote academic research and collaboration with policy officials, engage with Canada’s security and intelligence community, and organize workshops and conferences.
CCISS features expert coordinators (some of our awesome NPSIA profs.) and fellows associated with various research modules related to counterterrorism, international security, defence policy, conflict management and intervention; the economic/security nexus; forecasting emerging issues, intelligence estimates, foreign policy; critical infrastructure and cyber-security.
What sort of work experience did you have before this position?
I work on TSAS’ The Future of Terrorism Project funded by the Canadian Safety and Security Program (CSSP), focusing on terrorists’ use of UAVs (drones) and technological acquisition. In the past, I helped work on the Canadian Incident Database (CIDB) and served as the Security and Defence Officer for United Nations Association in Canada (UNA-Canada) on behalf of a Department of National Defence (DND) fellowship.
While completing a graduate degree in Counter-Terrorism and Homeland Security, I worked with two prestigious national security institutes in Israel: the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) and the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS). Throughout my career, I have been responsible for briefing senior defence officials, academics, and policymakers in Canada, Israel, and the United States.
What are your hours like?
I am fortunate to make my own hours for each of my positions (most of the time) – some of the perks of being a Ph.D. student. For any of you interested in pursuing even higher education and contributing to the advancement of knowledge in your particular field in an unprecedented capacity holler at your boy!
Anything else you’d like to add?
This is going to be the best year of your life.
Have any questions for Michael?