Joe Appleton, C’16, got to spend part of his summer at the University of Cambridge where he studied in the International Security and Intelligence Program, which was led by Sir Richard Dearlove, former head of the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), and current Headmaster of Cambridge’s Pembroke College. When Joe, a computer science major, arrived at this prestigious program for outstanding undergraduates from around the world he had to take a step back to enjoy his surroundings. Joe explains, “When I first arrived at Cambridge, the first thing that struck me was the age of my surroundings. I felt like I had stepped back in time. Beautiful stone buildings and narrow cobbled streets dominated the area, and every single bit of it was absolutely beautiful.” The University of Cambridge is one of the world's oldest universities and leading academic centers; it holds a world-renowned reputation for outstanding academics and intellectual achievement.
With such a collection of intellectual excellence, it would be hard for anyone to not feel somewhat intimidated at first. Joe admits, “I would be lying if I said I wasn’t at least a bit intimidated at first, but after the first couple days I realized that I was certainly on everyone else’s level.” Having the feeling of being on “everyone else’s level” is the result of Joe’s commitment and hard work. Joe currently is the President of the Mount’s chapter of the Association of Computing Machinery, returning Vice President of the Student Government Association, and recent recipient of a Meritorious Winner designation of this year's COMAP competition! Joe’s participation and leadership in many campus organizations is undoubtedly one of the keys to his success.
When asked about his experience at Cambridge Joe replied: “One thing that struck me as I studied at Cambridge was how well I had been prepared. Actively participating in the supervisions and seminars required quick formation of thoughts as well as excellent speaking skills, two abilities that The Mount has been helping me develop during my time here. There is a reason the liberal arts classes here have a participation grade – it is going to be difficult to become a more engaged student if you do not raise your hand and open your mouth. Had my Mount professors not directed me as they did, encouraging discussion as well as helping me to develop my individual intellectual pursuits, I would certainly have been less prepared for my studies at Cambridge.”
As Joe finishes up his senior year at The Mount in The School of Natural Science and Mathematics, he plans to continue challenging himself as he searches for a job and vocation. His experience at The University of Cambridge has provided Joe with a greater understanding of what occurs within the depths of the national and international intelligence agencies. Although Joe is not certain that he wishes to work in the intelligence sector specifically, he feels that he has the foundation that will prepare him for success in whichever career path he decides to take.