"Long story very short, [my start in the Intelligence Community (IC)] was a bit of an accident. I attended a government career fair during graduate school. At the time, I was interested in health and policy jobs because my graduate research was about how couples made reproductive choices. Ahead of the fair, a representative from US Customs & Border Protection called me after she saw my résumé in the résumé bank and invited me to interview. I never turned down an interview, so I talked with CBP at the career fair and ended up accepting a position with a small research unit within the Office of Professional Responsibility focused on studying and preventing corruption in the workforce."
"I’ve told this story so many times before but it really was and is the most significant moment in my career since I joined the Department of Defense in 2015. The first time I met Dr. Brad Millick, the Director of DoD’s Counter-Insider Threat Program, we had a great conversation about his vision for DoD’s enterprise-level program and how he wanted to incorporate the social and behavioral sciences into that vision. He literally pointed at me and said, “And you’re going to build that program!” I remember looking behind me and then looking at him saying something like, “Me? Do you mean ME or someone LIKE me?” and he said, “You.” We didn’t know what this program would look like, where the money would come from, or where we’d start, but these are the conditions under which I work best."
"Back when I was with CBP, I remember talking with a representative from the Army’s 902nd Military Intelligence Group about how to prevent ideologically-motivated insiders from harming our organizations. The type of concerning ideologies may have since shifted, but we are still having the same conversation in 2021. What does a Counter-Insider Threat Program look like that successfully identifies and mitigates potential threats to the safety of our workforce but also protects the privacy and civil liberties of our personnel?"
"[My advice for someone considering a career in the IC is] Nothing in school prepared me to write like I need to write as a government researcher who works in security. Shorter is better; keep summaries to 2 pages; 1 page is better if a document is going up the chain of command. Everything – text, tables, and figures – needs to stand on its own because I won’t be in the room to explain."
Favorite movie/book/TV show/podcast: I really do love books, movies, and podcasts about people who start out as lauded visionaries and end up on trial, out of office, or thrown out of the companies they founded. Books include: Bad Blood (Theranos); The Smartest Guys in the Room (Enron); Empire of Pain (Purdue Pharma); Too Big To Fail (Wall Street); and The Cult of We (WeWork). Podcasts include: Cautionary Tales, Gangster Capitalism, and Slow Burn.
"[My advice for someone considering a career in the IC is] Nothing in school prepared me to write like I need to write as a government researcher who works in security. Shorter is better; keep summaries to 2 pages; 1 page is better if a document is going up the chain of command. Everything – text, tables, and figures – needs to stand on its own because I won’t be in the room to explain."Stephanie Jaros