The first time Ted Reynolds came to Rollins College, he was in his early 30s, a successful local businessman who had left college previously to work. “College was the only thing I never finished,” he said. Reynolds enrolled in the Holt School and graduated in 2000 with a B.A. in international relations.
In 2012, Reynolds returned to Rollins, this time with a master’s degree in political science from the University of Central Florida and a job offer as an adjunct professor to teach the course Terrorism Studies. In 2013, he would teach National Security and Intelligence.
Reynolds is an expert on terrorism. He is the Global Connections Fellow of Terrorism Studies at UCF, where he also teaches. Additionally, he is completing a doctorate degree in international relations at the University of St. Andrews, in Scotland, with a focus on analyzing the use of social media and computer mediated communication by extremists and terrorist groups. Working on the final chapter of his dissertation, he looks forward to graduating this summer.
So how did someone who made his living in the construction industry become interested in terrorism? “It started in 1999 at Rollins when I began researching the potential use of weapons of mass destruction by rogue states and terrorists, specifically investigating the efforts by an upstart Osama bin Laden to acquire such weapons. Then, following the terrorist attacks on 9/11, using my experience in large scale infrastructure, I helped consider cost effective and practical ways to protect local public utilities from potential attack.” From then on, his focus has been learning about and working to counter terrorism.
Reynolds said he has had an interesting journey. “I remember two of my Rollins professors suggesting I consider teaching and now I’m very happy to be back at the Holt School,” Renolds said. “The students are motivated and engaging. I’ve had a few war vets in my classes, adding an on-the-ground perspective that’s unique and valuable for the others. It’s satisfying to see the students leave with a better understanding of our government’s capabilities and the security/intelligence challenges we face, especially regarding terrorism. Only when you gain an understanding of terrorism can you begin to combat it more effectively.”