Samuel Barnett

Class of 2019

Hometown: Bedford, NY

What is your College Scholar project?
My project, "US Foreign Policy and Islamic Radicalization Processes," examines the interplay between the United States' global presence and the dynamic factors contributing to violent extremist movements. I am interested in how transnational terrorist organizations develop amidst the evolving role of statehood in the twenty-first century. The spread of post-modern state systems, no longer centered on the 'nation-state' model, presents new security threats for the United States and its allies. The United States must contend with both an increased number of fragile/failed polities and terrorist organizations that draw strength from heterogenous, ideology- oriented populations. My research draws on historical, political, and sociological sources to address some of these current challenges. Drawing from coursework ranging from modern military history to controversies in Islamic theology, I am exploring how Islamic organizations are redefining traditional conceptions of statehood, and the implications that such a redefinition has for international security.

What are your most important extra-curricular activities?
On campus, I am the President of Pi Lambda Sigma (POLIS), Cornell's only pre-professional society for students pursuing careers in government, policy, and politics. Through POLIS, I have been able to connect with other students dedicated to careers in public service. I also work as a campus tour guide and serve on the Arts & Sciences Dean's Student Advisory Council.

Talk about any summer internships or programs you’ve attended.
I recently interned at the Truman National Security Project in Washington, DC. At Truman, I collaborated with foreign policy, military, and intelligence professionals on an open-source intelligence project. My research focused on political instability, international security, and strategy for fragile and failed states. In Summer 2016, I interned at the Center for International Policy (CIP), a foreign policy think tank in Washington, DC. At CIP, I focused on rewriting a policy proposal regarding US defense strategy for Afghanistan. Simultaneously, I served as a Fellow at the Religious Action Center, contributing to advocacy efforts for issues of counterterrorism and international religious freedom.

What do you dream of doing after graduation?
After graduation, I plan on pursuing a career in the national security and/or intelligence community. I hope to apply my academic foundation in political science, history, and international relations to contemporary policy challenges and security threats. Ideally, I will work in a position that deals with the intersection of national security, intelligence, and emergency management. And on a lighter note, I also plan on enjoying lots of hiking, woodworking, and guitar playing.