Graduate’s Secretive Work Supports National Security

The things that Presley Leopard ’18 can talk about are impressive enough. She graduated with majors in communication and political science and a minor in international studies. But it’s the things she can’t reveal that make Leopard an intriguing College of Charleston grad to watch. 

Going into her senior year, Leopard was unsure of what she wanted to do after crossing the Cistern. Her counterintelligence internship at the Department of Defense and Defense Security Service changed that.

“As soon as I started this internship I knew it was the perfect fit for me because it combined my love for politics, communication, and international studies,” says the double major. “I am proud to say that I was selected for this internship because it was a competitive application process. I went through multiple rounds and I got the internship over many other qualified students. The position also requires a security clearance, which I am also proud about because it shows I am a responsible individual.”

It also proves Leopard is competent and capable.

“My internship is not an easy job,” she says. “I am consistently dealing with confidential information that requires a lot of research and attention to detail. However, I know that my work is meaningful because it is focused on protecting national security, which makes my experience even more worthwhile.”

Beyond that bit of detail, Leopard can’t disclose where she might end up after graduation or what she’ll be doing.

Maybe she didn’t foresee a career in intelligence, but Leopard always knew she wanted to go into politics.

“I’ve been involved with student government since fourth grade,” she says. “I’ve always been interested in helping other people and creating change.”

An A.P. Government course in high school really influenced her commitment to national policy issues. After one communications course at CofC, she added that as an additional major. “I’ve always been interested in the media,” says Leopard.

She says she’s always been competitive with herself, and you believe it after she lists the many activities and organizations she’s been involved with at the College over the years: Student Steering Committee chair for the Office of Sustainability; member of the ECOllective Student Project Committee; member of the Leadership CofC Cohort; member of CofC’s Honor Board; member of the Student Government Association; Student Body Secretary; Student Body Treasurer; Sustainability Committee leader for Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority; member of the Political Science Club, Sustainable Greek Initiative Project lead for the Office of Sustainability; Palmetto Fellow and Presidential Scholarship recipient; and member of the following honor societies: Lambda Pi Eta, Phi Eta Sigma, Pi Sigma Alpha, Order of Omega, Rho Lambda, Omicron Delta Kappa, and Golden Key International.

It’s that strong desire to succeed that most likely led to Leopard securing a top-level position within the world of government intelligence before even crossing the finish line at the College. 

Article by Erin Perkins and Photo by Reese Moore. For more on this story, check out The College Today!

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