Interested in forecasting and analysis of the issues and events that shape our world? Check out the work of Praemon, which is the premiere national security student organization at Brigham Young University.
Co-sponsored by the Kennedy Center and the Geography Department, Praemon gets its name from the Latin word for premonition, which relates to its focus on forecasting and trend analysis. According to Drew Horne, an Economics student and current president of Praemon, the mission of the organization is threefold: “To 1) provide a forum for interested students to learn about and discuss issues related to national security and intelligence, 2) provide networking opportunities with like-minded students, alumni, and industry professionals, and 3) help students develop analytical research and writing skills.”
To that end, Praemon organizes lectures, AMAs, and panel discussions with intelligence professionals. The organization also maintains an online journal, which publishes student analyses of global security affairs. Horne explains, “Unlike academic writing, which involves synthesis of scholarly sources, our writing relies heavily on open source materials (news sources, government statements, political party or non-state group discourse, etc.) to provide original analysis of evolving situations, although scholarly sources are sometimes included.” Topics and areas of emphasis vary, with recent analysis topics ranging from a recent series of high-profile arrests in Jordan to the military coup in Myanmar to the Bhutan-China border dispute.
“Praemon is an excellent way for students to get published and grow their area and writing expertise as an undergrad,” says Horne. “Specifically, many Praemon members have leveraged their experience to gain internships and jobs in the intelligence community (CIA, DIA, FBI, etc.), and some have also gone on to analytic jobs in private business.”
One such success story is Jacob, a former Praemon analyst who graduated from BYU in 2019 in Political Science. He got involved with Praemon after looking for on-campus opportunities that would help him prepare for a career in national security and network with other students with similar interests. Right out of school, he was hired by the Department of Defense and has had assignments in Miami and Omaha. “Praemon has helped me in several ways,” he says. “It helped me get my original job at the DoD and my second assignment, and helped me get accepted into a master’s program at the National Intelligence University. Due to my experience at Praemon, I started at a higher rank than most starting out of undergrad.” He also appreciates the networking he was able to do while in Praemon: “The connections I made while in Praemon continued, and we have collaborated on projects together at work.”
All of this comes as no surprise to Horne, who observes, “Being a Praemon analyst shows dedication and experience with analytical writing and thinking, exactly the qualities needed for an intelligence analyst.”
Any student who wants to gain experience with research, writing, and analysis is welcome to apply to be a Praemon analyst. New analysts are accepted year-round, though the organization especially focuses on recruiting at the beginning of each semester. Students who are accepted as analysts are assigned an editor who helps them choose their topics and work through the writing and review process. Says Horne, “While we prefer analysts who can write regularly (1–2 times per month), analysts can work with their editor to choose a writing timeline that works with their schedule.” If you’re a BYU student with an interest in national and global security affairs and a desire to gain new experience and skills in research and writing, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
—Emily Nelson, 30 June 2021