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Law Students Receive Intelligence Community Center for Academic Excellence Downey Scholarships

Posted on Wednesday 6/9/2021
Intelligence Community Center for Academic Excellence

Rising 3Ls Abigail Neuviller ’19, Penny Quinteros, and Meghan Steenburgh G’97, and rising 2L Miriam Mokhemar, are among a group of 13 undergraduate, graduate, and law students awarded Downey Scholarships by the Syracuse University Intelligence Community Center for Academic Excellence (SU ICCAE). The $1,500 award recognizes academic excellence, commitment to public service and potential to bring diverse and distinctive backgrounds and experiences to the US Intelligence Community (IC).

As a designated US Intelligence Community Center for Academic Excellence, Syracuse University is part of the congressionally mandated program funded by the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which partners with universities to increase the diversity of the US intelligence workforce. The ICCAE offers undergraduate and graduate students unique coursework, as well as programmatic and training opportunities to prepare for careers in any of the 17 IC agencies.

The Downey Scholarship is named for John “Jack” Downey, who was one of the first CIA paramilitary officers who distinguished himself under duress. In 1952, while on a clandestine mission during the Korean War, Downey’s aircraft was shot down in Manchuria, and he was imprisoned in China for 21 years. Downey, who later became a Superior Court judge, earned the Distinguished Intelligence Cross, the CIA’s highest award for valor.

Recipients of the Downey Scholarship must be enrolled in, or be in the process of enrolling in, the Syracuse ICCAE program. Students can use the award stipend toward any need they have; many use the funding for travel related to their academic interests, conferences and expanding their skills.

“Downey Scholars are high-achieving students, interested in learning more about the diversity and importance of the work being done among the various Intelligence Community agencies—and how they might contribute one day,” says Carol Faulkner, Chair of the Downey Scholars Selection Committee and Professor of History and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the Maxwell School. “These students have a wide range of backgrounds and skills and a deep commitment to better understanding our world and the forces that shape it. The committee is pleased to honor their dedication and recognize their scholarship with the Downey Scholars Award.”

The students who received the award are:
Other benefits for students who receive the Downey Scholarship include taking part in mentoring incoming SU ICCAE students to guide them through the program; opportunities for leadership development, internships and co-op programs within the IC; and induction into the SU ICCAE program, with recognition certificates from the IC.

  • Courtney Blankenship, graduate student, international relations, security studies, Middle Eastern studies, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs
  • Justin Gluska, sophomore, computer science, College of Engineering and Computer Science
  • Jonathan Hogg, graduate student, forensic science, College of Arts and Science
  • Fiona Leary, graduate student, international relations, Maxwell School
  • Miriam Mokhemar, College of Law
  • Abigail Neuviller ’19, graduate student, public administration, Maxwell School, and College of Law
  • Penny Quinteros, College of Law
  • Grace Sainsbury, sophomore, international relations, College of Arts and Sciences and Maxwell School
  • Ashtha Singh, sophomore, citizenship and civic engagement and international relations, College of Arts and Sciences and Maxwell School, and a member of the Renée Crown University Honors Program
  • Meghan Steenburgh G’97, College of Law
  • Madeline Tadeux, sophomore, biochemistry and forensic science, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Amber Vandepoele, junior, biochemistry and forensic science, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Emily Vecchi, graduate student, forensic science, College of Arts and Sciences

Along with Faulkner, members on the interdisciplinary SU ICCAE Downey Scholars Selection Committee are Kristen Aust, Director of Career Advising, College of Arts and Sciences; Michael Marciano, Research Assistant Professor, Forensic Science, College of Arts and Sciences; Gladys McCormick, Associate Professor, History, Jay and Debe Moskowitz Endowed Chair in Mexico-US Relations and Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Maxwell School; and Robert Murrett, Professor of Practice, Public Administration and International Affairs, Maxwell School, and Deputy Director of the Syracuse University Institute for Security Policy and Law.