Upon graduating from Central Washington University with a Masters degree in history, Steena Fullmer-Anderson (IWP 2004) knew she wanted to work in the intelligence community. Aware of the field’s competitiveness, she decided that getting an education at The Institute of World Politics would be the most effective next step in achieving her goal.
During her studies at IWP, Steena was intrigued by the fact that, quite often, the professors had worked on the various documents that the students were reading for their classes. For instance, while studying Reagan’s National Security Decision Directives in the IWP course entitled International Relations, Statecraft, and Integrated Strategy, she learned that the professor, Dr. Lenczowski, or “Dr. L,” as his students call him, was involved in drafting several of these directives. This firsthand experience of the professors, and the “fact that they were not just teaching from an academic perspective, but had actually worked in the field,” Steena found, “made the curriculum much more applicable.”
Not only were the faculty members experienced, but “they were very educated and articulate” as well. Steena enjoyed her courses so much that although she had initially planned only to earn an IWP certificate, she stayed and completed an M.A. in Statecraft and National Security Affairs.
The Institute not only gave her the education she desired, but one of her IWP instructors, Professor Kenneth deGraffenreid, helped her obtain her first job in the intelligence field as a Program Analyst in the Information Security Oversight Office. In this position, Steena helped monitor, evaluate, and report to the President on the status of the federal security classification program.
Steena eventually moved back to her home state of Washington, and has been working to combat drug trafficking as a Criminal Intelligence Specialist with the Washington State Patrol for the last two years. In this position, she again found that IWP had prepared her well, and that many concepts she learned were directly relevant to her work. For instance, in her studies at IWP, Steena had learned much about the tendency for mirror imaging in intelligence work. Mirror imaging refers to the natural tendency to assume others will take certain actions based upon erroneous personal or cultural preconceptions. She was thus a few steps ahead of the curve, both making sure to guard against this in her own work and to recognize it in the work of others. She says, “The fact that I had been able to study these types of things at school before applying them professionally really made me look at my work from a different perspective.”
Steena is going to be taking a little time out of the professional world, as she has recently welcomed her first child into the world – a daughter named Violette. While caring for Violette and running her own business selling her fused glass art, Steena is applying for Ph.D. programs. She has been inspired by her time at IWP to continue learning, and, next year, will begin to work toward a Ph.D. in Diplomatic History.
Steena embodies many of the ideals IWP attempts to instill in its students – she has used her education to excel in her professional life, she will continue to educate herself in her field, she appreciates the relevance of history, and she understands that nothing in our national life is possible without security.