Meet the 2020-2021 Security Studies Program Military Fellows | 2020 | News

Meet the 2020-2021 Security Studies Program Military Fellows
Brittany Logan

Brittany Logan spoke with the five incoming Military Fellows to find out where they’ve been, what they’re most looking forward to and where they hope a year at SSP will take them going forward.

The interview below has been edited for clarity and brevity.


Please click here to read about our incoming Stanton and Statecraft Fellows.

The 2020-2021 fellowship year will be unlike any other in the history of the MIT Security Studies Program (“SSP”). The global health pandemic has forced everyone to adapt to a new way of living. Lunchtime rendezvous, working groups, and the congenial chats in the hallways of E-40 have been replaced with Zoom breakout rooms and socially distant meetups. The show, as they say, must go on.

Fortunately for the SSP community, this year’s Military Fellows are more than equipped for the coming year. Joining us from the Air Force, Army, Marines and Navy, the 2020-2021 military cohort bring years of invaluable combat experience and armed forces knowledge.


Welcome to the SSP family! Tell us a little about where you were prior to joining us in Boston.

Lieutenant Colonel Molly Solsbury, Military Fellow- US Army

I just finished a year in Afghanistan. While there I served as the Senior Intelligence officer for a Special Operations Joint Task Force. We were at the center of moving forward toward the peace talks.

Commander Trevor Prouty, Military Fellow- US Navy

Most recently, I led a squadron of over 400 sailors as their commanding officer during the introduction of mine countermeasure missions and the adoption of the MQ-8B Fire Scout (an unmanned autonomous helicopter system) at Naval Base Norfolk in Virginia.

Lieutenant Colonel John Black, Military Fellow- US Marine Corps

I was assigned to 3d Battalion, 25th Marines (an infantry battalion) in Cleveland, Ohio from June 2018 to June 2020. We trained in 12 states and several foreign countries, including Cyprus, Estonia, and the United Kingdom. It was (and is) a truly extraordinary unit with a proud legacy.  

Colonel Scott Synowiez, Military Fellow- US Army

I recently commanded a Military Intelligence Battalion with the US Army Intelligence and Security Command, with a focus on the Central and South America, as well as, the Caribbean Region. Before that, I was deployed in support of Intrinsic Action/Operation Desert Spring, NATO Kosovo Force, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and as an advisor to the Saudi Army.

Lieutenant Colonel Brian Novchich, Military Fellow- US Air Force

My primary career field the past 15 years has been as a fighter pilot. I fly the F-15E Strike Eagle, and have just finished my squadron-level command in North Carolina, responsible for 24 fighter jets and about 80 people plus their families. I have had assignments across all levels of military operations—tactical, operational and strategic—and have some defense acquisition experience at the Pentagon as well.

You all have extensive training and backgrounds in the armed forces. What made you want to join the academic ranks of SSP?

Brian Novchich, Military Fellow- US Air Force

I sought out the MIT SSP fellowship at the recommendation of several senior mentors, really focusing on the unique opportunities it affords for interaction with our best and brightest in academia. After several years of standard military professional education, I was ready for some new and refreshing ideas that could help me be a better senior officer and leader.

Trevor Prouty, Military Fellow- US Navy

[I wanted] the opportunity to step away from the fleet for a short time and focus on further developing my comprehension the strategic theories which influence our country and our military. 

What do you hope to gain from your year at SSP?

John Black, Military Fellow- US Marine Corps

I hope to gain a broader, deeper, and more nuanced understanding of international relations theory, regional security dynamics in the Indo-Pacific region, and American culture in the northeastern United States. I've been told that people up here are "wicked smaht."  

Molly Solsbury, Military Fellow- US Army

I hope to gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of how to integrate technology into our military formations successfully.

Scott Synowiez, Military Fellow- US Army

I hope to be exposed to the current scholarship in the Security Studies realm. Having been close to the problem set for the last 23 years, I want to take a step back and get a wider point of view. I have a great deal of experience in certain areas, but I hope to take courses that open new avenues of learning for me. I want to be able to share my experiences and I hope some of the facility and students will find it helpful.

We’re still in the throes of the pandemic, but is there anything you’re hoping to do or see over the course of your year here?

Trevor Prouty, Military Fellow- US Navy

My kids are very excited about a cold winter and snow. I made a video of my daughter saying she couldn't wait for winter that I look forward to showing her in February to remind her of her previous optimism.

John Black, Military Fellow- US Marine Corps

My family and I are excited about exploring Boston and the northeastern U.S. and Canada. Since we arrived, we've walked the Freedom Trail, rode the Duck Boat, ran around Boston and Cambridge, and explored Cape Cod. We've devoured cannolis from Mike's Pastry, eaten a lot of oysters and seafood and enjoyed some really good Afghani food. We're still on the lookout for the best chowder and pizza places.

Brian Novchich, Military Fellow- US Air Force

I was most excited about being in the heart of Boston sports!!  So much for that I guess… there’s still hope for the spring time, I suppose. Other than that, experiencing a real winter is on my wish list.

Tell us one thing about you people might find surprising to learn.

Scott Synowiez, Military Fellow- US Army

I love to travel. I’ve been to 33 countries so far, and hope to see many more. During college, I took a year off to travel around North America and Europe as a singer in a show, clocking over 155 shows that year.

I’m also an avid war gamer and reader, mostly focused on Military History.

Brian Novchich, Military Fellow- US Air Force

I’ve known my wife since we were 12, and she was a foot taller than me until we were 17 – that’s when I caught up and we started dating.

Molly Solsbury, Military Fellow- US Army

I lived in Hawaii for several years and go back as frequently as possible... I am trying to talk my husband into retirement there.

Trevor Prouty, Military Fellow- US Navy

My favorite hobbies are surfing and fishing. I left my surfboard in Virginia, so I've embarked on a quest to find brook trout here in Massachusetts.

John Black, Military Fellow- US Marine Corps

My wife and I are athletic nerds who love to explore. I enjoy Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and running after my wife; she usually has to carry me home on her shoulders. We've [also] spent a lot of time in California, Hawaii, New Zealand, Ohio, and northeast Asia, mostly Japan.