Natalie M. Rice, PhD is a CCI doctoral program alumna (2012). She is currently a research consultant at the Baker Center Institute for Nuclear Security (INS) at the University of Tennessee where she conducts research on global security, anti-Americanism, and issues related to Russia and the former Soviet Union. Natalie graduated from CCI’s Master’s program with a concentration in Journalism and Electronic Media. Her B.A. is from the Department of Social Communication at the Belarusian State University (Minsk, Belarus). Natalie has published a number of articles on various global security and public policy topics with a special focus on anti-Americanism, nuclear security, mass media, and public opinion in the former Soviet region.
Why would you suggest CCI’s graduate program to prospective students?
I had a tremendous experience during my time in the college and graduated feeling qualified to not only embark on an academic career path, but to add to the body of research in my field and have, what I hope will be, a lasting impact. CCI faculty have expertise that rivals other research institutions. Such encouragement presents a tremendous opportunity for students to expand their researcher’s “tool belt.” I think that the best research that I have been able to do has been when I was encouraged to take a truly interdisciplinary approach to the subject at hand.
What is your advice for the incoming CCI graduate students?
Don’t finish a term paper and forget about it – instead turn it into a poster or paper for an academic conference, or with some additional work and guidance turn it into a journal article submission. The more quality conference presentations and published articles a student has at the end of his or her time in graduate school, the better are the chances of employment. The demands placed by the faculty of CCI are high, but the end result is a graduate who is prepared to enter the career path they choose. My personal experience showed that CCI is dedicated to supporting its students and encouraging them to push themselves and further their research interests.
What courses/instructors were most influential in your doctoral program?
Dr. Paul Ashdown, who was willing to serve as my ever-patient and responsive committee chair (and even came out of retirement to walk me through the final stages of dissertation work). Of all my professors who I had the privilege of having learned from during my time at UT, Dr. Ashdown stood out for always encouraging me to reach beyond where I thought I could reach and for treating me not only as a student but as a colleague. I could not have had a better experience with my other CCI dissertation committee members: Dr. Ed Caudill and Dr. Amber Roessner who gave me great career and research advice. Dr. Catherine Luther helped me navigate my way through the doctoral program with research advice and personal encouragement.
During my time at CCI, I have seen the college thrive under the leadership of Dean Wirth. As an international student and as a female researcher, it was impressive to see how much emphasis is placed at every level on supporting diversity, and I credit Dean Wirth for never losing sight of the value this brings to CCI and the entire university.
Prepared by the 2016-2017 CCI Spotlight Task Force