About Me

Me and  DSC_8749-2My Journey:  I am a PhD Candidate in International Security and Economic policy, and Graduate Fellow at the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM), at the Maryland School of Public Policy (MSPP). My present journey takes me from my employer of over 25 years (Sandia National Laboratories) on a sabbatical from September 2013 – August 2015.  During that time, I am conducting research for my dissertation on the impacts of third-party interventions on the resiliency of actors in civil conflict, and what that means in terms of conflict persistence and/or transformation.  I am bringing my experiences and knowledge of complex adaptive systems along for this trip, and am curious to see where they will lead as I focus my case study on conflicts in the Horn of Africa.

Hospitality to nourish hope  in Sidi Moumen, Casablanca

Exploring civil society in Sidi Moumen

My Motivation and Passions:  I have always worked at the nexus of international security policy, science and technology, and the social sciences to find ways to improve the human condition — tackling “wicked” problems  like nuclear energy and nuclear waste management, nonproliferation, counter terrorism and the role of women as peace builders.  Over the past two decades, I watched well-intentioned efforts to bring peace and security to conflict areas fall short of their goals and am committed to doing my part to figure out what we can do better.  As citizens of the world’s most prosperous and privileged nation, neither failing to learn from failure or walking away are options in my book – whether considered from moral, ethical, or pragmatic security and economic interests.

My Baggage: I have loved my assignments to US Government agencies, and creating collaborative partnerships with universities, non-governmental organizations, and international partners.  My “thing” is the application of complexity science to policy analysis.  I have published my share of peer-reviewed publications, and traveled a bit as a subject matter expert in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. In addition to my work for the USG, I have had the privilege to consult for the governments of the US, UK, Sweden, and Canada, and to be the assistant director of the MSPP Study Abroad Program for Democracy, Human Rights, and Security in Morocco.  Over the past decade, I have researched the dynamics of civil conflict, with a special interest in the potential role of women as moderators of violence in society. I am a native of Texas and a permanent resident of New Mexico. I have a BS in Math from the UT Austin, an MSME from UC Berkeley, and am a graduate of the program on Nonviolent Conflict at the Fletcher School of International Affairs at Tufts University. I have raised two wonderful children, and thrive on travel, fly fishing, and long walks with my dog.


11 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Yours is the very first blog that I have ever read, much less to which I have replied. You make me proud to call you a friend of mine, as you are in a bigger sense, a friend to our world. Can’t wait to hear about your adventures, lessons, and encounters as you travel Africa this summer. Stay Safe!

  2. Best wishes and safe journey on this incredible opportunity, Nancy. Follow your dream and may it become your life.

  3. What an incredible journey you are embarking on. Your passion for what you do is inspiring. God speed and safe travels. I look forward to following your blog as this adventure unfolds.

  4. My first blog encounter as well. I can’t wait to hear about all your journeys, keep us posted so we can live vicariously. You are so brave to set upon this mission towards your doctorate. We will all learn because of you. Safe travels. We will miss you in Manassas.

  5. Awesome mission Nancy! the world needs great minds like yours. you are not short of stamina and energy to make it happen, its only a step away to bring the great achievements of this journey home.

  6. I have just started reading and what a powerful trip. You are an amazing woman and what a mission — looking forward to reading more of the blog.

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