Reaching the Next Level at the Forefront of Local Security and Intelligence

Photo of Hanna Wood standing by motorcycle

Law school was always the next step for Homeland Security and Intelligence Studies major Hannah Wood (’24) until the moment she set foot on the Daytona Beach Campus her first year. “After learning what intelligence agencies and private sectors I could work for during my first Homeland Security course,” she noted, “I changed my mind.”

Recently, the Daytona Beach native reflected on her experience at EmbryRiddle and how it has shaped her future career in the security and intelligence industry. After discovering the variety of degree programs offered outside of aviation and STEM, the tight-knit community and vast opportunities from leadership positions to internships and job connections, Wood decided on EmbryRiddle Aeronautical University.

“As a student at EmbryRiddle,” she shared, “having professors that are such strong mentors and role models has been pivotal in my success.”


From Classes to Reality

In addition to dedicating time towards her coursework, Wood was accepted as an intern for the Daytona Beach Police Department (DBPD) from March to August, putting knowledge learned inside the classroom to use. “I worked with many divisions, including the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) and the Advanced Technology and Cybercrime (ATAC),” Wood mentioned.

While rotating divisions, Wood was fortunate enough to analyze a wide range of documents, such as court orders, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) child identification reports, forensic reports and investigation reports, and drew vital insights from the reports that aided in solving investigations.

Wood shared how her classroom knowledge of forensic terminology “solidified her understanding of how the police department adeptly manages crime, combats threats and responds to emergencies,” providing her with a seamless transition from classroom to internship.

In addition to utilizing learned skills firsthand, Wood received the chance to sit in on weekly CompStat meetings where she learned cutting-edge crime-fighting techniques, shadowed 9-1-1 dispatch and radio operators, went on ride-alongs and participated in multifaceted operations using unmanned systems.


Giving Back to the Community

On top of her studies and internship, Wood places a high emphasis on the local community and is involved in two organizations that help to benefit the Daytona Beach area. Alongside a colleague, Wood helped to establish the service-driven club Circle K International (CKI) on campus in 2022, in which she now serves as Vice President.

EmbryRiddle's CKI club works closely with Kiwanis of Ormond Beach Club, where Wood currently serves as the President, organizing and conducting service projects throughout the year. “Our club plans a book fair every year at a local elementary school that gives kids, teachers and classrooms free books to promote literacy in children,” Wood mentioned while emphasizing the importance of being an active member of the local community. 


Wood is also the President of Sigma Kappa Sorority on campus and recently joined the Order of the Sword and Shield, both of which have provided her with countless leadership skills.


Finding Positive Motivation

“After my internship with the Daytona Beach Police Department, I knew I wanted to have a meaningful career combating high-scale crimes,” Wood mentioned. “Knowing that you’re putting the bad guys away and keeping people safe is my motivation to work in the intelligence and law enforcement agency.” 

With industry motivation stemming from her internship, Wood shared the tremendous impact her parents have had on her life, stating that they “taught me that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to, even if it seems unattainable.” Their constant and unyielding support has played an integral role in shaping her motivation and dedicated pursuit of her career.


Eagle Advice for the Future

The value of participating in the community is unmatched; from gaining valuable skills to meeting new friends and supporting causes that are important to you, there's a way for every student to engage outside the classroom. 

“There are so many opportunities to get involved at EmbryRiddle; it’s an amazing experience,” Wood offered when asked what advice she would give to a new Eagle starting their college journey. “You get out what you put into your experience... make the most of your experience... you might even find new passions that you didn’t know you had.”