By Kasy Long
Sep 14, 2023
Intelligence Analyst Major
at Indiana State
When Payton Vallee was a high school student in St. Joseph, Illinois, she knew exactly what she wanted for her future. Always fascinated by criminology, Vallee wondered how criminal behavior might be related to biology, psychology, and sociology. She didn’t have any answers to her questions, but she knew where she could find them.
Indiana State University.
Upon discovering Indiana State’s intelligence analysis program, Vallee knew it was the right major for her. The academic program in the School of Criminology and Security Studies is designed specifically for students seeking careers as intelligence analysts for the U.S. government or military, or in the private sector.
Intelligence analysts examine information from multiple sources to identify threats to the United States and abroad. They collect and analyze intelligence to uncover the intentions of foreign governments and other entities.
Students in the School of Criminology and Security Studies explore innovative ways to solve complex, real-world problems through research and data analysis related to national security, law enforcement, military, and business intelligence.
“When I learned about Indiana State’s intelligence analysis major, it sounded unique and rare to me. I had never heard of studying intelligence analysis in college, so I wanted to learn more about the program,” Vallee says.
She liked what she learned. A few years later, Vallee is now a junior in the intelligence analysis program, studying a variety of fascinating topics: national security, law enforcement intelligence, strategic intelligence, intelligence applications and methods, ethics in criminal justice, cybersecurity, and more.
Vallee, who is also a member of the University’s Honors College and a President’s Scholar, enjoys the creative courses offered at Indiana State. Many classes in her intelligence analysis major require hands-on research, but professors also encourage students to pursue courses and opportunities outside of their major to broaden their learning and perspectives.
For example, Vallee took an Honors College course on the philosophy of the “absurd,” in which she studied the absurdities of life. For the class, she read Franz Kafka’s 1915 novella The Metamorphosis and Samuel Beckett’s 1953 play Waiting for Godot. The literary works gave Vallee new insights into psychology.
“I loved the discussions in the class and how we could freely express our opinions,” she says. “Professors really get to know us, and with the smaller class sizes, it’s easier to get involved in discussions and projects. The classes have shaped me and made me think about things I never would have considered before taking the classes. I now have a better understanding of life.”
In her intelligence analysis major, Vallee completed a project on strategic intelligence in which she traveled to Marshall, Illinois to meet with the mayor, sheriff, and public health officials to discuss drug abuse in the community. She worked on writing policy reports that she believes would help Marshall, and she presented the proposed policies to the municipal officials as her final project for the strategic intelligence class.
“My education at Indiana State has provided so many opportunities for me to learn about intelligence analysis and the industry I want to pursue,” says Vallee, who aspires to work in intelligence analysis, specializing in human trafficking, for the Department of Homeland Security.
She adds, “The smaller class sizes [at Indiana State] have allowed me to know my professors and fellow classmates. My classes gave me realistic scenarios so I know how to react when I am in these situations in my career.”
Outside the classroom, Vallee is passionate about philanthropy work. She volunteers with Indiana State’s Lemon Club, a branch of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. Along with her peers, Veer helps organize lemonade stands around Indiana State’s campus to raise awareness for childhood cancer and to fundraise money for childhood cancer research.
Through her church, Vallee has volunteered for a clothing drive and helped build a wheelchair ramp for elderly and disabled individuals. In addition, she assisted community members at Terre Haute’s Blues at the Crossroads music festival and the Terre Haute Balloon Festival. A self-described “people pleaser,” Vallee enjoys making a difference.
“I like to make people happy. Any opportunity where I can do something to make someone else’s life better, I like to jump in and be involved,” she says.
Vallee’s passion for helping others will continue to make a difference – and keep people safe and protected – in her career in the intelligence community. Because passionate public servants wear BLUE!