We're excited to share NYLF National Security Alumnus, Dannie Motley's, experience when he attended with Envision in 2018. Dannie reached out to us and wanted to share his story. Thanks, Dannie, for providing this. We wish you all the best in you future!
It's been over two years, and I just have to say: This trip has been the experience of a lifetime, and I'm thankful for the memories with everyone and the new friends I've made. I'm thankful for our group leader who planted knowledge in our heads the way he did! I met someone from my own state that I've seen since the trip. We are great friends now, and without this trip I never would have met him. I wrote this to say, this trip has changed my life and opened my eyes to so many different opportunities and experiences. I made great friends and went to great places during my Envision Experience. Even if I didn't look forward to the trip initially, I wouldn't trade the time I had for anything in the world.
On the first day of the program, the scholars were sent to a conference room where we participated in “ice-breaker games.” These activities consisted of going from person-to-person listing our favorite movie, where we are from, and something extra that we would like to share. We also played different group games to familiarize ourselves with each other. At the end of the day, we received our room keys and found out who our roommates were.
We began to venture out on the second day. We visited the U.S. Capitol and State Department, where I got the chance to sit in the middle of the Floor of the House. At the end of the discussions, I became engaged in the former congressmen’s speaking. The last event of the day was a panel discussion with Mr. Wade Townsend from the Department of Homeland Security. I was glad to be involved in a panel question that related to us scholars.
We visited the Pentagon on the third day, which was an experience I will never forget. We walked around the many floors and talked about some of the history and roles the Military vehicles and personnel played in wars. At the halfway mark, we visited the very spot where the plane impacted the building on 9/11 and saw the memorial that was placed there in memory of that fateful day.
After the tour, we were taken to the headquarters of the FBI, where we got an even better understanding of what national security entailed. At the end of the third day, we attended a security panel of the scholars' choice. I attended the Defense panel where I met Timothy Lawson, a security guard from the Marine Corps who protected U.S. embassies in Algeria, Russia, and Peru; I also met Colonel Osborne of the U.S. Army (that's a picture of he and I at the top of the post!) and Lieutenant Ensley of the U.S. Coast Guard. This was the event where I gained my deepest understanding of career paths and different career choices that were available to me.
The fourth day was when we participated in a Cyber Security simulation, where we were assigned different government positions within our groups. I was assigned the role of Director of National Intelligence, the head of the Intelligence Community (which included the CIA, FBI, NSA, and all other Cabinet intelligence agencies).
My job required that I collect and fully understand ALL information that came through the community. Through all the information, we kept the situation under control, except for when I took a 10-minute break and my classmates had somehow planned to overthrow the government and entire Executive branch. But, in the end, we avoided war with our allies and stopped the illegal drug and U.S. currency trafficking on the North Korean border.
Finally, on the fifth day, I witnessed the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and wreath laying ceremony. After that, we visited the National Mall, which consists of many buildings, including the Washington Monument, the U.S. Capitol, the Smithsonian, and the Air and Space Museum. For the final experience of the day, we walked through the war memorials along a path from the World War II Memorial to the Lincoln Memorial.
If you're interesting in attending NYLF National Security or any of our other programs, please join us. We'd love to have you experience all that Dannie was able to get from his experience!