Graduate’s Secretive Work Supports National Security

Graduate’s Secretive Work Supports National Security

Commencement is a time of reflection and new beginnings. As the College prepares to send the Class of 2018 across the Cistern Yard May 11-12, The College Today will share a sampling of how some of our graduating seniors spent their time at CofC, and what comes next.


The things that Presley Leopard can talk about are impressive enough. She’s double-majoring in communication and political science and will graduate with a minor in international studies. She’s also in the Honors College. 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.”

Presley Leopard (Photos by Reese Moore)

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. 


Other notable spring graduates from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences include:

• Jennifer Asouzu, a double major in communication and theatre with a concentration in performance, is one of the 10 students in the 2017-2018 Martin Scholars program. She plans on attending graduate school to study higher education and student affairs, with the intention of working with new students on the administrative level.

• Jaquan Leonard, a double major in communication and studio art, is a member of the inaugural class of the 2016-2017 Martin Scholars program. He has landed a position as the Digital Content Producer for WCSC Live 5 News after he graduates.

• Deon McCray, a political science major, excelled in undergraduate research and published an article with professor Jordan Ragusa. 

• Meredith Grant, an international studies major, will graduate with a full scholarship to the University of Florida College of Law.

• Emma Berry, a communication major, plans to travel through India, Nepal, and Southeast Asia with plans to volunteer, complete work exchanges on farms and teach English.

• Catherine Caplan, a communication major, held three internships and presented her senior capstone research at the Southern States Communication Association Conference in Nashville, Tennessee.

• Corinne Durocher, a communication major, is one of the 10 students in the 2017-2018 Martin Scholars program, a student-athlete, and in her senior year became the first-ever woman Offshore Sailing team captain.