In Memory of Rae

In September of 2021, the Department of Intelligence and Security Studies at Coastal Carolina University launched the Rae McArthur Award. This annual award of $250.00 commemorates and celebrates the life of the late Rachel “Rae” McArthur, a former INTEL student who was taken from us along with her mother, Andrea, in August of 2021. The Rae McArthur Award is presented every April to a freshman or sophomore student who embodies the Intelligence and Security Studies Department’s core values and has demonstrated the commitment, perseverance, and drive of Rae McArthur.

To nominate a student for the Rae McArthur Award, please email the student’s name, along with a short description and justification of about 200 words, to Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis. To contribute financially to the Rae McArthur Award, please go to the CCU Edwards College “Give” page and select “Rae McArthur Award” under “Designation”.

After coming to Coastal Carolina University from her native Georgia, Rae immediately became an integral part of the Intelligence and Security Studies program and the Chanticleer Intelligence Brief (CIB). She soon began to excel in every way imaginable, both inside and outside the classroom. In May of 2020, the CIB presented Rae with the prestigious Intelligence Award, which recognizes the efforts of a single student who excelled in the CIB’s Applied Intelligence Analysis class though constant improvement, dedication and hard work. In September of that same year, when she was technically just entering her sophomore year, Rae saw her article on “The Status of the United States-Mexico Barrier” published in the CIB’s Intelligence Review journal. Rae also played a significant role in the CIB’s nationally recognized “COVID-19 Intelligence Project” as its Border Security Editor, and spoke in episode six of its podcast series.

Statements about Rae

Dr. Jonathan Smith, Chair of the Department of Intelligence and Security Studies, said the following about Rae’s loss: “Rae was a bright and driven student. In all that she did, her passion to serve improved everything that it touched. We mourn the loss of someone with such promise and potential, and our prayers are with her family in their time of need“.

Speaking on behalf of the CIB and the Intelligence and Security Studies Department at Coastal Carolina University, CIB Faculty Mentor Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis made a statement to the media about Rae.

CIB Director, Ana Maria Lankford, said the following: “Rae embodied what it means to be an incredible friend and a CIB member. Her dedication and passion for the craft of intelligence is something that every student who studies intelligence and security should strive to possess. Her commitment and love for the CIB shined through in every brief she gave, and in every members life she touched. Rae was a friend to all, she ensured that all who crossed her path felt welcomed and valued in this organization. She seamlessly balanced her admirable work ethic and her caring heart in a way that motivated others to look up to her. Rae was the first person I met in the CIB, and the kindness she showed me is something that inspired me, and I will always remember. She truly was the spirit of the CIB, and her presence will be deeply missed“.

The CIB’s Counterintelligence Officer, Hannah Clegg, said: “Rae was one of my first friends freshman year. Very quickly her understanding, adventurous spirit, and goofiness made Rae an immediate friend. Her outgoing personality brought together many of us who lean on each other today. She was endlessly loyal and a constant supporter, helping me through the busy days. I will miss the late night study sessions where we laughed until we cried, the weekly lunches that made freshman year even better, and snacking on cookie dough together as a coping mechanism. I will miss laughing with my friend and will try to make her proud“.

CIB Special Initiatives Officer, Hannah Crumpton, said: “Rae McArthur was a shining light within the Intelligence department. I had the honor of knowing Rae on a more personal level as we were close friends and roommates our sophomore year. Rae was one of my biggest cheerleaders and was the first person I became friends with within the Intelligence program. Rae always rallied our morale during long nights of studying and preparing for CIB Class briefs. Most of those long nights often ended in us laughing on the floor at 3:00 a.m. over absolutely nothing. Within the CIB, Rae’s dedication to her craft and her persistent work ethic was a force to be reckoned with. Rae McArthur put her heart into every brief she gave. Every person who walked into the doors of the CIB, whether they were a part of her desk or not, was always met with a smile. I will deeply miss her smile and selfless spirit for years to come. I am grateful for the time I could spend with her and hope to continue to lead in her honor“.

Former CIB Communications Officer Cole Hancock, who was also Rae’s Head of Desk, said: “I had the pleasure of having Rae as a CIB member at the Latin America Desk in the spring semester of 2021, and she was a member that I could always rely on. I could always count on her to come to the meetings with enthusiasm and kindness, and her work ethic and dedication continued to impress me week after week. Although I only really got to know Rae for one semester, she would always stop and say hi to me whenever we saw each other on campus. Her friendliness and positivity radiated not only through the CIB, but throughout our entire campus. I am so blessed to have gotten to know Rae, and I will miss her dearly. Although I was her head of desk for CIB, she taught me so much about being a genuinely nice person, and I will be forever grateful for the lessons she taught me“.

The CIB’s former Chief Operations Officer, Rick Storzieri, who also had Rae at his desk, said: “When I first met Rae, she was another bright-eyed freshman who was eager to absorb everything in the room. Her presence as a force to be reckoned with in the CIB became instantly known, and her desire to prove her own capability immediately impressed me and my peers. Rae was the type of person that you hope graces you with her involvement in a project, and I was genuinely excited when she joined my desk. She quickly became a friend, and her friendship with me was the only thing that grew more than her own potential to set the golden standard in all that she did. Over time, I had the pleasure to sit down with Rae in an effort to help her as much as a friend and an upperclassman could. I remember how proud I was when she told me she started an internship with Roswell Police Department, I was so proud to see her grow into a strong, caring, and kind young woman. When I had plans to travel abroad, Rae was quick to suggest a family discount to make my dream more affordable. When I needed a laugh, Rae was quick to say anything to make me crack a smile. And whenever I needed someone I could count on to showcase their leadership potential, Rae was quickly at the front of my mind. From our discussions of her goal to help others through her knowledge of sign language, or her subtle jabs at me frequently neglecting to respond to messages, Rae was a light in my life, as well as in the lives of everyone she encountered. In the last message she wrote me, Rae told me that I was ‘an inspiration and a great friend’ and that I would ‘do amazing things’ in my life. I thank God that I had the opportunity to meet such a light to this world, and words cannot express how much of a lasting impact Rae McArthur had on me, her friends, and her family. She will be deeply missed, but never forgotten“.