Danbie Choi

Fairfax High School
Class of 2024

Developed counterterrorism measures with Borno State University in Northern Nigeria to protect the local community from Boko Haram.

Received intelligence and security training from former top officials from the NSA, Pentagon, and U.S. Military.

Earned a grant from leading professionals at the Department of Defense, Air Force, and FBI to implement my security solution.

Learn more about Danbie here.

Danbie Choi is excited to be participating in the National Security and Intelligence Internship this summer at Georgetown University. With her goal of working in the field of international relations one day, she hopes this experience will prepare her and affirm her passion. She is thrilled to work with her peers and mentors to create a security plan in the real world.

As a rising senior, Danbie is dedicated in both academics and athletics. She takes various Advanced Placement and Dual Enrollment courses and even classes that interest her through her local community college. She is a part of Spanish Honor Society, National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society, Rho Kappa Social Studies Honor Society, Tri-M Music Honor Society, and Model UN. She is a part of her school’s chamber orchestra and her local youth orchestra where she is principal violist in the latter. She is active in Taekwondo where she also happens to be a part of their demonstration team.

After graduation, Danbie wants to study international relations with a minor in Spanish. With her love of different cultures and languages, she wants to be able to use her skills to make the world a better place. She recently got accepted into the Governor’s World Language Academy for Spanish where she will continue to hone her language skills. Danbie strives to go to law school and work for the State Department or the CIA.

Read more about Danbie’s achievements here.

My Security

Our goals are to give the security team the skills and resources to be self-sufficient to protect the students, faculty, visitors, and facilities of Borno State University. This proposal will ensure that the university’s security system and security team can adjust to the situations and struggles that may transpire.

The purpose of our proposal is to guarantee the safety of everyone at Borno State University by creating a more effective way to report incidents. Our team developed a poster system that makes emergency response protocols more accessible. This means that students will have a better understanding of how to react during the event of a Boko Haram attack, fire, and sandstorm. The posters will be distributed throughout campus with step-by-step instructions on what the students should do in different emergencies and what the alerts mean.

The posters on incident protocols will help address the students’ security and protection more efficiently. With the high threats, the security team must have a total handle on the situation to ensure that Borno State University is a safer place for everyone.

My Security

Leadership Initiatives is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to creating future leaders globally through experiential learning.

In the National Security & Intelligence Internship, I worked directly with some of the world’s leading counterintelligence and counterterrorism experts to learn about national security and intelligence.

At the conclusion of the internship, I presented my security proposal to a distinguished panel of judges, which included Chris Fox, Lynn Clarke, and Umar Muhammad.

Borno State University

Firm Statistics

Borno State University Security is located in Yobe, Nigeria.

The security department consists of 140 guards responsible for patrolling about 40 to 60 yards each.

The security department has a variety of male and female staff ranging in age from 17 to 68.

Due to economic hardship, only five guards have full security kits which include defensive and offensive weapons, security tools, and a uniform.

Borno State University

About the Firm

Boko Haram and education are intrinsically linked. In the local Hausa dialect, “Boko Haram” means “Western education is forbidden”.

As a government-sponsored entity, Borno State University is a prime target for terror attacks. The school can be unsafe for students and employees, especially those who live on-site.

The university’s security department has become essential for ensuring the safety of the people that call Borno State University home.

Poverty and resentment of Western culture has driven many students, clerics, and unemployed professionals to join Boko Haram’s cause.

Borno State University

Terrorism in Nigeria

Boko Haram is a militant terrorist group that promotes anti-western education ideals and has been based in Northeastern Nigeria since 2002.

The terrorist organization’s main priority is establishing, spreading, and maintaining an Islamic State to oppose the Western values that threaten their ideology.

Though they have been active for nearly twenty years, they have gained most of their notoriety within this last decade through demonstrating their ability to carry out major acts of terrorism.

Most notably, in 2014, Boko Haram kidnapped 276 Chibok school girls. Over 100 girls remain missing.

Borno State University

Community Impact

Borno State University is just outside of the city of Maiduguri in Borno State. The university serves just over 2,000 students.

Due to Covid-19, the university has lost the income it generates through in-person sessions and has been forced to reduce its security department.

The fiscal reduction of the department leaves the school vulnerable to Boko Haram and affects the livelihood of hundreds of people.

Along with this financial hardship, the university has faced consistent problems of understaffing, a lack of security tools, and comprehensive training on counterterrorism.

Borno State University

Current Threats

Within the last few years, there has been a spike in insurgent activity in Borno State.

In March of 2023, Boko Haram attacked the city of Maiduguri, just 20 kilometers from Borno State University, killing at least 33 people.

In addition to this, the security department has to handle disgruntled ex-employees and students who are returning to cause damage as revenge.

Boko Haram is taking advantage of this phenomenon and disguising themselves as students to gain entrance to the university. A suspect was arrested for this very reason in April of 2021.

Internship Highlights

Our team began developing our solution by meeting the security company at Borno State University through a Skype meeting with the security guards.

Throughout the week, we had several calls with the security company. We discovered the threats faced by Borno State University, asked dozens of questions about the security situation, and learned about the university in the context of a wider security crisis in Borno State, Nigeria.

Once we compiled all the information, our team outlined security protocols for the security company through a SWOT analysis, which stands for “strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.”

Throughout our protocol-development process, we worked with staff at Leadership Initiatives in Nigeria, mentors, and national security experts in order to polish our proposal and final presentation.

Throughout the course of the week, we met with various experts in national security and intelligence, including Dick America, Ben Taylor, Ellie Constantine, Bill Stefan, and Chris Fox.

Our mentors offered us insights on our projects every step of the way. We gained valuable knowledge in various areas in intelligence and counterintelligence, which in turn helped us prepare the best security protocols possible.

Besides consultation, we had the opportunity to learn about each mentor’s contribution to the safety of the nation and the field of national security itself. We asked them about the basics of the field, its future, and everything in between.

Throughout the internship we met with distinguished guest speakers including Terry Quist, an adjunct lecturer at Georgetown University and Division Chief working for the Department of the Army, who delivered our opening Keynote.

Mr. Quist as well as Rohin Sharma, a former military intelligence officer and instructor at Georgetown University, gave introductory lectures on intelligence. We also got to ask countless questions and learn about their paths into the world of national security.

We learned about the State Department from none other than the former Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs, Maura Harty, who also served as the U.S. Ambassador to Paraguay.

We delved into the military side of national security with Colonel Campbell, where we learned about military operations and logistical planning. Through his lecture and a panel representing each branch of the armed forces, we learned extensively about the role of the military in national security.

Lynne Clark’s lecture on the practical application of the operational security process built off of the rest of the information we had learned, and provided valuable insight when working on ou security protocols.

We visited the University of Maryland Crime Lab where we learned about the importance of forensics in the field of national security from Tom Mauriello, a senior lecturer and laboratory instructor for the past 45 years. We even got to tour a crime scene recreation that undergraduate students use in their courses!

We also took a tour of the Homeland Security Investigations Technical Operations Center, which specialized in equipping ICE with cutting edge electronic surveillance tools as well as enhancing national security operations. We toured an armored vehicle with special surveillance equipment, tested out thermal imaging goggles used in the field, and more!

Last but not least, we toured the Homeland Security Investigations Field Office. We split our time checking out a variety of devices and (unloaded) weapons through a demonstration by HSI special agents. We even got a tour and a short trip in a Lenco BearCat armored vehicle, a SWAT vehicle used for military and law enforcement use. We also got to learn more about careers in HSI by speaking directly with special agents.