Palm Beach Atlantic grads discuss counterterrorism activities

 Palm Beach Atlantic University alumni Joseph and Michele Assad have been working in Middle Eastern war zones.
Palm Beach Atlantic University alumni Joseph and Michele Assad have been working in Middle Eastern war zones. | File photo

Palm Beach Atlantic University alumni Joseph and Michele Assad have been working in Middle Eastern war zones with the U.S. federal government to support its counterterrorism efforts.

The couple, which has traveled around the world throughout the last decade, recently presented PBA students with information about their careers and rescues. One of their high-profile rescue cases, which saved 149 Iraqi Christians from ISIS persecution, was televised on network news last year. 

Joseph Assad is originally from Egypt. He majored in biblical studies and political science at PBA. He credits his career to a diplomat from the State Department, who came to speak at his history and political science class. Assad remembers wanting to be a diplomat after he heard the speaker.

“I had no idea what God had in store,” Assad said. “But I knew I wanted to do something where I could use my faith as well as my interests.”

His wife, Michele Rigby Assad, earned her political science degree from PBA. She has worked with the Central Intelligence Agency, where she used nonverbal communication to interrogate subjects.

“I love studying people,” she said. “I didn’t know that could be turned into a job.”

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