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Interdisciplinary investigation

Throughout her North eastern expe ri ence, rising senior Kaitlyn Duffy has explored a range of sci ence and security-​​related topics from an inter dis ci pli nary per spec tive in the class room, on co-​​op, and abroad.

Duffy entered North eastern as a chem istry major, with plans to minor in crim inal jus tice and pursue a career in foren sics. But she was soon cap ti vated by the pos si bil i ties of inves ti gating these areas from a wider, more global lens.

“My inter ests evolved to taking a more transna tional view of crim inal studies, dis aster pre pared ness, and counter-​​terrorism,” said Duffy, now a double major in chem istry and polit ical sci ence who is in the Honors pro gram. “It’s sim ilar to my orig inal focus on foren sics, but now from a larger viewpoint.”

Duffy’s expe ri en tial learning oppor tu ni ties began in 2011 with a co-​​op at INTERPOL Wash ington, the United States National Cen tral Bureau. Though she interned in the drug divi sion assisting on case work related to inter na tional drug traf ficking and crime, she saw first hand how closely many inter na tional, fed eral, and state agen cies com mu ni cate and work together to dis tribute infor ma tion and inves ti gate crime.

On a Dia logue of Civ i liza tions pro gram in Switzer land last summer, Duffy studied dis ar ma ment diplo macy, sim u lated inter na tional nego ti a tions with diplo mats from the United Nations and NATO, and helped draft a mock human i tarian treaty on the use of land mines. Then, on her second co-​​op, she worked at Risk Solu tions Inter na tional LLC in New York, a firm that pro vides con sulting and tech nology solu tions to oper a tional risks orga ni za tions face. Her work involved assisting in research for emer gency man age ment plan ning and helping draft risk-​​related doc u ments for the firms’ clients.

Now, Duffy is one of about 200 under grad u ates selected for the Naval Research Enter prise Intern ship Pro gram this summer. Through the 10-​​week pro gram, under grad uate and grad uate stu dents par tic i pate in research in a Depart ment of Navy lab o ra tory; Duffy will com plete her time at the Naval Post grad uate School in Mon terey, Calif. After her intern ship, she will return to Wash ington to co-​​op at the State Department’s Bureau of Inter na tional Secu rity and Nonproliferation.

Duffy devel oped her interest in crim inal studies and sci ence as a kid. She grew up reading murder-​​mystery novels and dreamed of one day becoming a marine biol o gist. Born in New Jersey, Duffy and her family lived abroad in Aus tralia and Sin ga pore for sev eral years before returning to the United States in August 2001. She recalled the ter rorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 taking place on her second day of fifth grade, as she was still get ting accli mated back to Amer ican life.

“I’ve really only known America since 9/​11,” explained Duffy, who said the attacks influ enced her interest in pur suing a career a security-​​related field.
Duffy said each of her North eastern expe ri ences has yielded new insights, skills, and oppor tu ni ties. For example, her co-​​op at INTERPOL inspired her to take an inter na tional law course, and she expects that her knowl edge of forensic sci ence will serve her well during her lab intern ship this summer.

“These expe ri ences and the skills I’ve learned have always been applic able to what I’m working on next,” Duffy said. “Whether it’s cur rent events or what I’m learning in the class room or on co-​​op, it’s all been interconnected.”

by Greg St. Martin

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