Kasey Stricklin is currently a research analyst in the Russia Studies program at CNA in Arlington, VA. Prior to starting at CNA in January 2018, Kasey completed the Master’s in International Policy and Practice at GW’s Elliott School with concentrations in Russian area studies and nuclear security. While at the Elliott School, Kasey interned at CNA, the U.S.-Russia Business Council, the State Department’s Russia desk, and the Department of Energy’s Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence. In her current role at CNA, Kasey studies all aspects of the Russian military with a particular focus on information warfare and Russian naval officers and personnel. She also holds a J.D. from the University of Oklahoma College of Law and a Bachelor’s in Journalism from the University of Texas. She is licensed to practice law in Texas.
When did you realize you wanted an international career?
I was planning to be a journalist in college when I enrolled in my first Russian language course. From that experience, I became more interested in pursuing a career relevant to international affairs and, after receiving a Critical Language Scholarship to study in Vladimir, Russia in summer 2010, I came to appreciate the fact that a career relevant to Russia could actually be viable as it was clearly deemed “critical” and needed by the government.
Describe your current position and what are your primary responsibilities?
I am currently a research analyst at CNA on the Russia Studies team where I do analysis on the Russian military and write reports primarily for Department of Defense (and other USG) entities. Some of my work so far at CNA has focused on Russian naval officer promotion patterns, ground forces modernization, demographic trends and their effects on the military, and reactions to the most recent U.S Nuclear Posture Review.
What part of your experience at the Elliott School best prepared you for your current position? (Specific classes, student orgs, career development office, etc.)
My classes definitely prepared me the best for my position, as I was able to take a great range of classes relevant to the field. Before entering grad school at GW, I thought I knew a lot about Russia having studied the language and been to the country several times, but I realized after taking my first few classes that I was not nearly as steeped in the other aspects of Russia (political, overarching objectives, dynamics with other countries in the region, etc.) as I needed to be in order to have a career in the field. Taking courses with top professionals in the field helped me feel much more prepared to speak intelligently about the subject. In addition, the location of GW and the fact that classes are in the evenings allowed me to do different internships every semester, which directly led to my current position.
What advice do you have for prospective students who are interested in pursuing a graduate degree in international relations?
Take advantage of the opportunity to intern during your program! A graduate degree is almost necessary in many places you want to work (my own workplace very rarely takes on those without at least a master’s), but it can still be difficult to just find that first position to springboard you to a successful career. Without interning and proving your aptitude in that way, it may be hard to convince someone to take a chance on you. GW makes it easy to get a broad range of internship experiences throughout your graduate career.
If you would be any type of food/drink, what food/drink would you be?
I think I would be a traitor if I didn’t say diet coke. I’m pretty sure I came out of the womb with diet coke coursing through my veins
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