What is your area of expertise?
Are you interested in mentoring high school or college students, or both?
How did you become interested in this area?
I have always been interested in International Relations and took a Russian history course in HS. We took a trip that winter (yes winter!) to Moscow and Leningrad...it was still the Soviet Union and Gorbachev was in power. Then, in college, I continued to study security studies--our university did what we called a "space bridge" and now maybe it's just a conference call ...with Moscow University students to talk about nuclear weapons and arms control. Kurt Vonnegut was on one of the panels. Two days before I was to leave to study abroad in Leningrad...in August of 1991, the coup took place. There were tanks on the streets of Moscow. I went to Leningrad anyway and left St. Petersburg six months later.
What was your career path to get here?
After college, I went to the Peace Corps -- in Turkmenistan. One of my "side projects" was an English Language Model UN project for University students across the country. I returned to graduate school and the Department of Energy was recruiting fellows to work and live in the FSU doing nuclear nonproliferation. They hired me to work in Kazakhstan. After a year in that position, Argonne National labs West (now Idaho) hired me to do some on the ground project management. I stayed for another year... until 9/11... after that, I worked on nuclear security, primarily with Russia and other aspects of nuclear-- from nonproliferation, to security, to safety, to energy.
Why should the public care?
The devastation, both physical and psychological, that would be wrought by a detonation of a nuclear weapon on a human population would be tremendous. We should care, because nuclear weapons are a foreign policy tool, in the form of a deterrent--because a nuclear weapon in the wrong hands, would be disastrous -- as a tool of coercion or as a tool of terror.
What is a current issue or trend that concerns you?
I am worried about the erosion of the US infrastructure surrounding nuclear weapons. I am concerned that the public isn't as aware of the consequences of nuclear choices and perhaps have forgotten the lessons of the past. I am worried about North Korea and Iran but also of the use of tactical nuclear weapons by Russia or a rogue element in Pakistan. I also worry about the potential of a terrorist acquisition.