Emily Baldwin ’14, using her New Global Security Fellowship award, worked part-time in a mentorship program that she designed, combining her interest in both computer science and international relations. Baldwin, who is also a Balfour Scholar, assisted staff at Sandia National Laboratories in the international Safeguards and Technology Systems Department on a variety of global cyber security projects.
Security guard. The majority of my work explored cryptography and its application in an international and political realm. One of my main jobs was helping to configure a virtual Private Network (VPN) test scenario with contacts at Comissão Nacional de Energia Nuclear, Brazil’s national nuclear authority. The work was in preparation for future use in setting up a shared VPN surveillance system between Brazil and Argentina to transmit public health information. I also was involved with a committee of the Nonproliferation and Cooperative Threat Reduction Center, surveying departmental websites as part of cyber security analysis.
Total connection. In high school, I taught myself programming just for fun, and created websites for various organizations. But, it wasn’t until I attended Wheaton that I began to really officially involve myself in computer science. I consider the subject a combination of math and foreign language, which I have always loved.
Intelligent work. With this mentorship I finally encountered a profession that I genuinely enjoy and am interested in pursuing later in life. This experience has certainly helped me revise my planned course schedule at Wheaton and will help me with my decisions regarding future internships and professional development. After my work with international cyber security, I am excited to focus my classes on primarily computer science courses with a concentration on international, and specifically Latin American, politics.
Making an impact. What I like about both the public and private sectors of intelligence is the tangible impact that research has on politics and reality. The fact that I can tell exactly what and who my work is impacting and that it may strengthen the security of the nation means quite a bit to me. And regarding cryptography specifically, I think that devising algorithms for decoding is an incredibly interesting challenge that also makes for a dynamic career.