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Dennis Bahena

Supervisory Information Technology (IT) Program Manager for the Office of Biometric Identity Management (OBIM), U.S. Department of Homeland Security

What attracted you to the homeland security certificate at VT?
I was attracted to the Homeland Security certificate at VT because the Homeland Security courses would count as electives for the Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree that I was pursuing at the same time at VT. Additionally, I already worked at DHS so I thought pursuing this certificate program would be a great way to augment my work experience.

What have you come to appreciate about the program since starting?
Homeland Security is a very broad mission set and the Homeland Security certificate program exposed me to many aspects of the Homeland Security mission that I was not familiar with even though I've worked at DHS for many years. Additionally, my workplace encourages employees to conduct "TED Talk" style presentations and I was able to reuse many of the presentations I created during the Homeland Certificate program to educate my fellow co-workers on interesting Homeland Security topics that they were never exposed to either.

What work do you do now?
I am a Supervisory Information Technology (IT) Program Manager supporting the Office of Biometric Identity Management (OBIM) in the Management Directorate (MD) at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Headquarters. 

How has the homeland security program prepared you for that goal?
The homeland security program was flexible enough to allow me to research specific Homeland Security topics that I was interested in. Many of the topics I chose to focus on revolved around IT/cybersecurity because that is what I am primarily involved with in my position at DHS.

Overall, how do you feel about your decision to pursue the homeland security certificate?
I am glad that I chose to pursue the homeland security certificate, it definitely helped me to understand the homeland security mission from a broader perspective that I would not have been exposed to solely from my position at DHS.