More Than Tech: Homeland Security analyst says MTU offers options

Joshua Vissers/Daily Mining Gazette Amy Storer (second from left) stands among the other Michigan Technological alumni invited to speak as part of their Five Under 35 event.

HOUGHTON — “The Social Science Department at Michigan Tech does not get the credit that it deserves,” Amy Storer said during her Five Under 35 presentation in Michigan Technological University’s (MTU) Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts.

Storer was invited to return to MTU, where she graduated in 2010 with a degree in social science. The Five Under 35 event was a chance for young, successful alumni to return to the university to tell current students about how they succeeded and what their MTU degree is worth in the professional world.

“Don’t let anybody tell you you can’t do anything,” Storer said.

Originally from Hudson, Wisconsin, Storer came to MTU with basketball skills and no idea what to declare as her major.

“You can’t major in basketball,” she said.

The pre-law program was new at the time, and she decided to give it a shot. She said the help and encouragement she received from faculty members Susanna Peters and Mary Durfee helped her not only succeed but excel.

After visiting Washington, D.C., as part of the Ford Motor Company Global Scholars Program, Storer wanted to find the best internship possible, so she applied to one with the White House. She was initially rejected, but applied again and was accepted the second time.

She moved to Washington for an unpaid internship with only one semester left in her undergraduate degree.

She rented an old lady’s attic and worked around the clock, but said it did not feel like work.

“It felt like fun,” she said.

Eventually, her boss’s boss recognized her work and asked what her rank was and was shocked to learn she was an unpaid intern. The next day she was moved to a paid internship.

Two weeks later, she was offered a permanent position with Homeland Security based on an application she had sent in months before.

She finished her degree with a combination of online classes and a class she took at George Washington University on her lunch breaks, with help from Durfee and the rest of the MTU staff.

Her master’s thesis at Johns Hopkins University focused on Native American tribal sovereignty and border security.

She received her degree in 2012. Her Harvard University master’s dissertation on euthanasia law was sponsored by law professor Glenn Cohen in 2017.

The night she found out about Cohen’s sponsorship, she applied for a professorship in American government at Savannah State University. Not only did she get that job, but she also teaches at the College of Coastal Georgia and still works with Homeland Security.

“Don’t think you have to pick just one dream,” she said.