Undergraduate Security Studies Group

Since its founding in the fall of 2014, the ACDIS Security Studies Group’s presence on the University of Illinois campus has grown exponentially semester after semester. The original idea came about because student interest in security-related topics was evident. Yet, it was difficult for students to connect with organizations that hire in the field. To combat this obstacle, a handful of students founded the group with the vision that it would offer interested students the networking and pre-professional training necessary to break into the security world and be successful.

Now, the ACDIS Security Studies Group engages in a variety of efforts designed to help students: regular newsletters, career prep, guest speakers, simulations, restricted networking events, and social events to name a few. The group and its events have proved useful and popular across a variety of majors, whether the students are interested in intelligence, diplomacy, academia, or policy.


  • For events and meeting times, and to speak with current members, reference the SSG Facebook page.
  • Active members are to adhere to the point system outlined on the SSG website.
  • Roles and responsibilities of the board and members can be found in the constitution.


Board member, officer and committee positions are offered for each full academic year beginning in fall. Positions include:

  • President
  • Executive Vice-President
  • Development
  • Academic Affairs
  • Events
  • Secretary/Treasurer
  • Officer and committee positions vary by semester

Fall 2018- Spring 2019 Leaders

Chris Szul

President 2018-2019

Chris Szul is a senior in Computational Physics with a minor in Computer Science at UIUC. He as has been in the SSG for the past four years of being at the University of Illinois.  He plans on working in the cybersecurity field full-time for a few years, then will work part-time on getting his Masters in Computer Science while working. His interests are programming, traveling, and working on his car. He hopes to live in Washington D.C. after graduating from college. As the President of the SSG, he plans to encourage more members in the organization to pursue national competitions on policy writing, while also building an interest in students that have a background in the natural science majors.


Maxx Villotti

Vice President 2018-2019

Maxx Villotti is a senior in the Nuclear Engineering program and is the current Secretary/Treasurer of the ACDIS SSG. Maxx is also enrolled in the ACDIS certificate program. Outside of ACDIS, Maxx is President of the Illinois Congressional Debate Society as well as a teaching assistant for the university’s Nuclear Arms and Arms Control course. After college, Maxx hopes to get a career in nuclear security dealing with the secure storage of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste.


Jason Williams

Events Chair 2018-2019

Jason Williams is the Events Chair of ACDIS. He is a senior majoring in political science, minoring in public relations, and receiving a certificate in global security. As the Events Chair, he hopes to provide a range of professional events from various organizations across the security field. Jason also serves as the co-founder and Director of External Relations for the Illini Journal of International Security. Some of his interests include playing guitar, cars, and baseball.

Paisley Meyer

Academic Affairs Chair 2018-2019

Paisley Meyer is a Global Studies major and is pursuing the ACDIS Certificate. Apart form being the Social Media Intern, she is an editor for the Illini Journal of International Security (IJOIS) and a member of the Model UN team. Her interests include Latin and South American Studies, global conflicts, and the impact of the international drug trade on communities.

Nakita Pradhan

Development Chair 2018-2019

Nakita Pradhan is an undergraduate student majoring in Political Science and minoring in Computer Science. Along with being a Research Assistant for ACDIS, Nakita works with the Prison Justice Program, a non-profit organization dedicated to mentoring high school students on probation, and is an editor for the Illini Journal of International Security. Her research interests include energy and Russian and East European studies.


The ACDIS Security Studies Group is an independent, student-run organization affiliated with ACDIS through its constitutions. ACDIS staff coordinate and collaborate with these two groups to ensure success in their endeavors.