Executive Director for the Office of Academic Engagement
Executive Director Traci Silas joined the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Headquarters in May of 2021. As the Executive Director of the Oﬀice of Academic Engagement, Oﬀice of Partnership and Engagement she leads engagements among the higher education community, including 2-year, 4-year, trade, military, technical, agricultural, tribal, faith and similarly situated academic institutions. Executive Director Silas regularly engages with academic associations and colleges to inform various stakeholders of the Secretary’s priorities pertaining to student and graduate recruitment, campus safety and resiliency, and the cybersecurity, international students, infrastructure, law enforcement and emergency management homeland security missions.
Far from new to DHS, Executive Director Silas initially launched her career in 2010, serving in key leadership positions including, but not limited to, the Acting Deputy Chief of Staﬀ within the Oﬀice of Partnership and Engagement; the Forced Labor Division Director within U.S. Customs and Border Protection; and the Senior Director of Federal Advisory Committees within the Committee Management Oﬀice. Prior to federal service, she held several oversight positions within private industry focused on audit compliance, privacy implications, immigration reform and human rights advocacy.
Executive Director Silas earned her undergraduate degree from Hampton University where she landed a grant-funded externship with the National Institute of Health focused on anti-bullying and sexual assault. She earned a Juris Doctorate in general practice, international law and real estate law from Hofstra University School of Law in Long Island, New York. Continuing her personal commitment to the value of continuous learning, Executive Director Silas obtained an international certification in Use of Force Law from the University of Nice in France and an international certification in European Union Law from the University of the Netherland Antilles in Curacao. Most recently, she completed the Partnership for Public Service’s Excellence in Government Fellows program and graduated from the Harvard Kennedy School Senior Executive Fellows Program.