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Program Highlights

Interactive Speaking Events

Be introduced to leaders in the fields of diplomacy, intelligence, and defense operations, who are faced with and make the tough decisions that protect our country. Previous guest speakers have included defense service veterans and top officials from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and U.S. Department of State.

Keynote Speakers

Jonna Mendez, Keynote Speaker at NYLF National Security

Hear an insider’s perspective on what a career in national security can mean to your future and the world.

Past speakers have included:

  • Jonna Mendez, Former Chief of Disguise, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
  • Cynthia Watson, Ph.D., Dean of Faculty and Academic Affairs of the National War College, National Defense University
  • Mike Sundsted, Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.), United States Air Force
  • Grace Mukupa, Ph.D., Volunteer, Peace Corps
  • Susi Hajeski, Lead Computer Scientist, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
  • Hady Amar; Visiting Fellow, Project Director, and Nonresident Senior Fellow; Brookings Institution
  • Wade Townsend, Office of Infrastructure Protection, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Wounded Warrior Project Spokespersons: Dan Miller, Jennifer Mackinday, Sal Gonzalez, Cindy Parsons, Mary Tallouzi

Military and Government professionals participating in panel discussions for high school students at NYLF National Security

Career Exploration Event

Participate in explorations with speakers representing the fields of diplomacy, intelligence, and defense. Discover the various career opportunities available in national security and gain valuable insight on potential career paths. Previous event speakers have included representatives from the U.S. Department of State, FBI, Peace Corps, World Bank Group, and Department of Defense.



Cybersecurity Speaking Event

Take a deep dive into understanding the nation's stance on cybersecurity from field experts working in governmental organizations, such as the FBI, CIA, Department of Homeland Security, and Senate, as well as private sector companies, such as Northrop Grumman, Washington Cyber Center, and many more. You'll have the opportunity to not only hear more about ongoing threats but also how to better protect yourself against them.

Past speakers have included:

  • Lelo Wade, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Linus Barloon, U.S. Senate, Office of the Sergeant at Arms
  • Robert Osgood, Digital Forensics & Data Analytics, George Mason University
  • Kenneth McCreedy, Division of Cyber and Aerospace, Maryland Department of Commerce
  • Frederick Haggerty, Digital Forensics, Northrop Grumman
  • Curtis Jordan, TruSTAR Technology
  • Kevin Newmeyer, Washington Cyber Center

Site Visits

Visit distinguished facilities and installations, where you'll get an inside view of professional roles, duties, and daily operations.

Past site visits have included:

The International Spy Museum –  Go undercover on the museum's immersive digital missions and test your espionage skills. Explore the varied exhibits highlighting the history of all things spy craft, including an exhibit featuring Jonna Mendez, the program's Opening Keynote speaker.

The U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) – Explore USNA’s beautiful campus and hear about the admissions process and career opportunities for Academy graduates. You may also visit the U.S. Naval Academy Museum, enjoy lunch at the Drydock Restaurant, and learn about the history of this iconic institution.

Tributes to Valor and Sacrifice – Tour our nation's memorials that were erected to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in public service.

  • Lincoln Memorial
  • Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  • Korean War Veterans Memorial
  • World War II Memorial

High School students explore a career in National Security, Diplomacy, Intelligence and Defense 1

Arlington National Cemetery – Witness the wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns within Arlington National Cemetery. You may even have the opportunity to write an essay for selection to participate in the ceremony.







National Security Crisis Simulation

High School students explore a career in National Security, Diplomacy, Intelligence and Defense 2Near the end of NYLF National Security, you and your fellow scholars will face a simulated national security threat that will require you to step into the shoes of a professional. Working in teams, you'll take on a character role within the media, intelligence, diplomacy, defense, legislative, or executive branches and collaborate to resolve challenges. Teams will receive information in real time that will affect your decision-making process and how you interact with your peers to determine resolutions.

During this true-to-life, exhilarating simulation, you'll put everything you've learned throughout the program into practice. You and your teammates will face the challenges of interagency coordination and decision making, evaluate a wide range of alternatives, weigh the risks, consider possible adversary counter-measures, and determine opportunity costs before finalizing a strategy to neutralize the threat.