By Hannah Skinner

My name is Hannah Skinner and I’m a senior double majoring in Political Science and International Affairs. This past summer I had the opportunity to intern for Noblis, Inc. working under the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Cooperative Threat Reduction Program (CTR) that works to counter weapons of mass destruction alongside US partners. Last school year I had the incredible opportunity to be a part of the Security Leadership Program (SLP) housed under SPIA’s Center for International Trade and Security where I found my passion for national security. This year-long program really helped me find the direction I was looking for in my career path and through the help of our amazing director, Dr. Gallagher, I was able to apply for this internship.

While interning for the CTR program, I primarily worked with the Biological Threat Reduction Program (BTRP) under the New Country Assessment Team. The goal that I was tasked with was to make the new country assessments, which are completed by CTR personnel before a bilateral agreement with a partner country begins, more efficient. Historically, the process can take up to approximately 15 weeks to complete all phases of the assessment. My task was to create a deliverable that would help streamline this lengthy process more efficiently. To do this, I created a bank of gaps that are most often found within country assessments. The gaps section of the assessment essentially lays out the areas in which a country can improve on in terms of its biological capacities and capabilities. This was one area of the assessment where the team realized they were spending the most time editing.  I went about solving this by analyzing the most recent assessments, consolidating, and then standardizing the gaps found into one online database. This gives the personnel writing this section of the assessment an easy and efficient tool to help them in completing this section.

Working for Noblis has been one of the most valuable experiences I have had as an undergrad thus far. Not only was I able to live up in DC for a few months and explore so many new and cool places, but I was also able to put into practice everything I had learned in the SLP and my other undergrad classes as well. Gaining real life experience out of the classroom allows you to gain a perspective on the world and what you want to do in a way that a classroom sometimes can’t always offer. Not only that, but the connections you build with people in your intended career path who have walked where you are currently walking is so incredible and encouraging. The people I was able to work with always had so much to offer in terms of advice and potential opportunities.