Carolina Tellez Salinas

Can you tell us about yourself?

My name is Carolina Tellez, and I am a Mexican student currently pursuing my master's degree in Intelligence, Security, and Strategic Studies (IMSISS). I feel privileged to be part of the distinguished Erasmus Mundus joint program offered by the University of Glasgow, Trento University, and Charles University.

Growing up in a highly insecure country has fueled my longstanding interest in security issues. Witnessing the impact of various challenges such as crime, violence, and instability on individuals and communities has motivated me to actively contribute to the field of intelligence, security, and strategic studies.

Can you tell us about the activity that you have been engaged in which has been supported by the CoSS Employability Award?

I became intrigued by the subject of cybercrime during my academic journey, as it was frequently emphasised and discussed during lectures. As I explored potential research topics for my master's thesis, cyber-enabled drug trafficking stood out as a particularly compelling area of study. I eventually came across a summer school organised by the UNODC and ECPR on Transnational Organised Crime. Recognising the immense value this program could offer in expanding my knowledge and insights in the field, I seized the opportunity to participate.

Upon applying, I was awarded a tuition fee scholarship for the summer school. The CoSS Employablity Award allowed me to cover the costs associated with travel and accommodation in Vienna.

The UNODC Transnational Organized Crime Summer Program was hosted at the UN Headquarters in Vienna. It proved to be an enriching and intensive two-week course that served as a gathering point for PhD and master’s students from more than seven countries. The program fostered a dynamic learning environment by bringing together experts in diverse fields, including cybercrime, criminalisation of the environment, gender issues, and international drug regulations.

Through engaging lectures, interactive workshops, and collaborative discussions, the summer program provided a unique platform for participants to deepen our understanding of transnational organized crime and its multifaceted challenges. The program also included visits to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime (GITOC) and the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (EU-FRA). Witnessing firsthand the work conducted by these organizations provided us with a tangible glimpse into the diverse strategies and initiatives employed to combat this global challenge.

What was the highlight for you for your involvement in this activity?

Despite being a master's student, I eagerly accepted the invitation extended to all PhD students to contribute to a blog article for Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), an independent think tank engaged in defence and security research. My efforts were rewarded with the prestigious 2023 Bill Tupman Prize. As a result, my article will be published on RUSI's platform.

In my article, I assessed the likelihood of the fentanyl crisis engulfing Europe. The enriching conversations held over the course of those two weeks provided me with valuable insights and diverse perspectives, ultimately shaping the content and direction of my opinion piece. The expertise shared by the experts, as well as the plethora of websites, journals, and resources they recommended, greatly contributed to the depth and accuracy of my analysis.

Receiving the Bill Tupman Prize is a tremendous honor and validation of the effort and dedication I invested during the summer school. I am grateful for the recognition and the opportunity to share my insights on RUSI's platform, contributing to the ongoin

What has been the biggest impact on your employability?

Attending the summer school not only opened doors but also broadened my horizons in the realm of transnational organised crime. It allowed me to visualize the myriad of opportunities it offers.

Through the connections made during the summer school, I was able to construct a mental map of the diverse career paths available within the domain of transnational organised crime. The program illuminated various avenues for engagement, including roles as a law enforcement agent, intelligence analyst, researcher, or even a professor. This realisation sparked my enthusiasm and ignited a passion to explore and contribute to this critical field.

After meeting and listening to experts working in the field of cybercrime, I not only reaffirmed my dedication but also heightened my awareness of the pressing need to bridge the gap between the private and law sectors in the realm of cybersecurity.

Recognising the urgency and importance of this collaboration, I am now more determined than ever to seek opportunities that allow me to contribute to this evolving landscape.

What advice would you have for other students considering taking part in this type of activity?

If you have a specific topic that captures your interest, do not overlook it. Embrace the opportunity to explore further by leveraging the power of social media platforms to connect with experts in the field. Reach out to them, express your enthusiasm for their work, and inquire about their ongoing research or projects. Following their work on social media can provide valuable insights and keep you updated on the latest developments in your area of interest.

Building connections with experts in the field can offer numerous benefits. They can provide guidance, share valuable resources, and offer mentorship opportunities. Additionally, these connections may lead you to discover summer schools, conferences, webinars, seminars, or related events that focus specifically on your topic of interest. Participating in such events can be instrumental in deepening your knowledge, expanding your network, and immersing yourself in a supportive community of like-minded individuals.

Carolina Tellez is a Mexican student currently pursuing her master's degree in Intelligence, Security, and Strategic Studies (IMSISS). If you would like to get in contact with Carolina about her experience, contact her through her email: