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Mienie helps create intelligence course for Georgia high school students

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UNG faculty member Dr. Edward Mienie has helped create a high school course to introduce students to the intelligence field.

University of North Georgia (UNG) faculty member Dr. Edward Mienie helped craft a course that will allow high school juniors and seniors to gain an introduction to the intelligence field. The course will be one of the first of its kind in the nation, according to Justin Hill, associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction at the Georgia Department of Education.

Hill, who is an information warfare officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve, hatched the idea thanks to his two decades in military intelligence, and Mienie was grateful to help make it a reality.

"I'm enthusiastic about the subject matter. It's very appropriate for this day and age," Mienie said. "It's a wonderful way to pique the interest of high school students for intelligence as a possible career."

Dr. Christopher Jespersen, dean of UNG's College of Arts and Letters, was glad to see this outreach from Mienie.

"Dr. Mienie's class will provide some of Georgia's high school students an opportunity to get an early look at the intelligence field and see if it might be a career path for them," Jespersen said. "It's exciting, and it fits with UNG's mission to serve our communities."

Hill said plenty of connections were already in place to create such a class due to the expansion of the cybersecurity industry in the state.

Seeing the way Mienie helped start the strategic and security studies program at UNG also excited Hill.

"He brings a unique perspective because he knows how to build something from the ground up," Hill said. "We're trying to do the same thing here."

UNG is one of the nation's six senior military colleges, and nine cadets have graduated with strategic and security studies degrees since the program launched in in August 2015. Of the 124 students currently seeking the degree, 87 are cadets.

Mienie appreciates the interdisciplinary nature of UNG's strategic and security studies program, which he believes can gain more interest from the high school classes studying intelligence.

"It gives them greater awareness of this type of skillset we desire out of our students," Mienie said. "UNG is a great conduit to bridge them from high school into intelligence or multinational corporations, where they would be interested in risk management."

Hill said one emphasis of the course is the need for students to maintain good financial standing so they can receive the security clearances needed for their desired careers. Another is to highlight to students that there are meaningful and lucrative careers associated with a social studies education.

Mienie has more than 20 years of experience working in international relations and business, media relations, and coalition building. He served four years in the South African National Defense Force, where he was deployed to the Angolan War in the 1980s and was awarded a Pro Patria medal in 2019 for his service.

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