WASHINGTON Logan High School student Sara Fortune spent a week of her summer break participating in the National Youth Leadership Forum on National Security in the nation's capital.
The forum was held in Washington, D.C., from June 23-28, and each day focused on a different topic.
The first day was focused on security, reflection and career exploration. Fortune and her fellow scholars began the day with a trip to the U.S. Capitol, where they sat in the middle of the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives and heard a speech from a former congressperson. They then headed to the U.S. State Department, where they saw national security in action. Following the informational site visit and lunch at Dupont Circle, the students then listened to a keynote address presented by Hady Amar.
Day two focused on "Implementing Security Policy," where the students visited the Pentagon and the headquarters for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Later in the evening, Fortune and her fellow scholars explored possible careers in defense, diplomacy and intelligence during a career exploration panel titled "Discovering the Future." They then did some networking during the KYLF National Security Career Fair, where they learned about the importance of online and in-person networking.
On day three, which focused on "National Security in Action," Fortune began by attending the Cyber Security Panel discussions, where she gained a deeper understanding about the nation's stance on cyber security from field experts - particularly about ongoing threats and the best methods to protect against them. For the remainder of the day, Fortune and the others participated in the Dark Web Dangers simulation, where they worked on strategies to deal with a real-world international cyber security threat, using the ideas they had been working on in their strategy sessions. Later that evening, the simulation was followed by a mock press conference, in which the scholars addressed the issues and presented their proposed solutions.
Finally, on day four, Fortune and the others had the chance to hear about the front lines of securing the nation from veteran mother, caregiver and spokesperson for the Wounded War Project, Cindy Parsons. Afterward, they visited Arlington National Cemetery for a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns. After lunch, Fortune and her fellow scholars explored the Smithsonian museums on the National Mall and, later that evening, they celebrated the culmination of their work by taking a special tour of numerous national monuments including the Korean War Veterans Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial.