Josh Beasley had a magical mission at Yale

Beasley, a 22-year-old graduating senior from Timothy Dwight College, often tells people his hobby is having hobbies. But there’s more to it than that.
Four ROTC Air Force students.

Josh Beasley with fellow Yale Air Force ROTC cadets.

The only things Josh Beasley has up his sleeve are a passion for magic, a knowledge of cybersecurity, and a plan for serving his country.

Beasley, a 22-year-old graduating senior from Timothy Dwight College, often tells people his hobby is having hobbies. But there’s more to it than that.

Beasley goes where his interests take him and he takes his interests wherever he goes. Which is amazingly far.

As the son of an Air Force bomber pilot, Beasley’s childhood took him to Texas, South Dakota, Alabama, and Virginia, where he graduated from high school. Beasley’s Yale College years have been the longest stretch he’s ever had with the same classmates — making his Yale friendships all the stronger.

They’re my wing men and my friends,” Beasley said. “The people make Yale what it is.”

Beasley joined the Yale ROTC program as an Air Force ROTC cadet, bonding with fellow cadets during early-morning training sessions at the Lanman Center. Later this year, Beasley will report for duty at Los Angeles Air Force Base in El Segundo, California, where he will be a space acquisitions officer working with aerospace contractors as part of the U.S. Space Force.

His undergraduate studies have been no less far-reaching.

For example, Beasley’s interests in electrical engineering and computer science led him to write his senior thesis on a novel approach to online password security that combines cybersecurity with machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Ultimately, I’m interested in how these big issues — things like cyber espionage — affect policymaking and international relations,” Beasley said.

Man wearing an orange jacket with carved pumpkin faces.
Beasley performing magic.

Likewise, Beasley found ways to combine international relations and public service with his longtime love of magic. He joined the group Magicians Without Borders and traveled to Costa Rica, Colombia, and South Africa to perform magic in rural communities while promoting education and self-empowerment for children.

He also served as president of the Yale Magic Society and, during his junior year, organized a visit to Timothy Dwight by Costa Rican magician Diego Vargas.

Beasley said his crowning achievement as an amateur magician at Yale came during a live magic performance in the Timothy Dwight dining hall. He did a trick called “Psychic Surgery,” in which he takes a dollar bill from an audience member, destroys it, mixes it into some pudding, and then asks someone to eat the pudding.

The trick comes in when we ‘dig’ into that person’s stomach and retrieve the dollar bill — magically transformed back into its original condition,” Beasley said. “I still remember some of the screams from the front row.”

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