Intelligence and Security Studies Students Recognized for Excellence, Achievements

OXFORD, Miss. – Sarah Dawn Miller, a University of Mississippi student from Clinton, is the recipient of the inaugural John H. Napier III Intelligence Prize awarded by the UM Center for Intelligence and Security Studies.

The prize is to be awarded annually to a graduating senior who has successfully completed the Intelligence and Security Studies minor and who best exemplifies the qualities of outstanding scholarship, excellent character and a strong commitment to service.

Miller, a French major minoring in intelligence and security studies, Arabic and theatre, received the award based on her overall performance as a student, her character and her outstanding motivation to succeed in and out of the classroom, said Carl Jensen, CISS director.

“We looked for a lot of different qualities when selecting a recipient for this award,” Jensen said. “It’s named after Gen. John Napier, who had a career in intelligence actually spanning three wars, so looking at his life, we established these criteria. Sarah is one of the most highly motivated students we’ve ever had and her character is beyond reproach. There’s no question she was the right choice.”

Besides the Napier Prize, medallions for completion of the intelligence and security studies minor were presented to graduating seniors Mary Allen Langford of Atlanta; Andrew Paul of Clinton;  Brittany Richardson of Birmingham, Ala.; Josh Snyder of Goodlettsville, Tenn.; and Elizabeth Younger of Madison. Graduate students Michelle Aten of Oxford and Joshua Lawrence of Madison were also presented medallions for their outstanding contributions to the CISS program.

Miller is also a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. For her senior capstone project, she traveled to France, Jordan and areas of Mississippi to interview individuals of various faiths to gauge their attitudes of other religions.

“Hands-down, CISS has been one of those things that I felt put me at the front of the pack,” Miller said. “Not only do I have language skills, but I have practical skills that are relevant not only to academia but also to the workforce. I’m honored to win this award.”

In the fall, Miller will begin a master’s program in Middle East Studies at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies in Bologna, Italy.

The Napier award brings with it a $250 cash prize, a signed certificate and the honoree’s name included on a plaque that is maintained at CISS.

The award is sponsored by Brig. Gen. John H. Napier III, a 1947 Ole Miss graduate and Taylor Medalist, who served in combat and intelligence positions in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. He is considered one of the pioneers of military intelligence and counterinsurgency operations. During his distinguished career, Napier was awarded the Legion of Merit, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, the British Order of Saint John and the Alabama Distinguished Service Medal.

The highly selective intelligence and security studies minor consists of a rigorous six-course program of instruction. The CISS, which has close ties to various intelligence community agencies, has been recognized for its success in educating students for entry-level positions in intelligence-related fields.

For more information about the Center for Intelligence and Security Studies and the intelligence and security studies minor, visit