The NNSA Graduate Fellowship Program (NGFP) is a unique opportunity for recent graduates to join the Nuclear Security Enterprise. These full-time, salaried positions offer a year of specialized, on-the-job training and the chance to tackle real-world challenges in one of NNSA’s program offices. Fellows develop technical and leadership skills to launch their careers with a full immersion in one of NNSA’s core mission programs.
What is your academic background/field of study?
My master’s degree is in international studies from the University of Denver. There, I focused on international security and comparative politics, with a regional focus on Central and Eastern Europe. My bachelor’s degree was a double major in history and political science at Principia College in Elsah, Illinois.
What are you currently doing for NNSA?
I work for Defense Programs’ Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation office, supporting the scientific experiments that make sure our nuclear weapons will work if we need them to, even though we haven’t done an underground test for more than 26 years now. My job usually involves communicating between our programs, the budget office, and higher levels of NNSA leadership to make sure that our programs have the funding and support needed to carry out the mission.
What is your proudest accomplishment while working at NNSA?
For about two weeks, while my boss (the Chief of Staff) was away, I was tapped to fill her role. It was kind of daunting, but by the end of those two weeks I was amazed by how much I actually knew.
Is there something you’ve learned here that you didn’t know before?
I started off knowing very little of the technical things my office deals with – I had to ask pretty early on what exactly an isotope is – so I’ve learned quite a lot of the science behind the Nuclear Security Enterprise, which is valuable for a policy person like me.
What advice would you have for anyone interested in a career in nuclear security?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions – I came in knowing basically nothing about nuclear anything, and I was amazed at how much I was able to learn very quickly, and also how patient and eager to help everyone around me was.