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Exploring the Intersection of Business and Nuclear Security

Maggi Chambers November 23, 2021

Entering the nuclear security field as a young black woman from the South has not been the smoothest transition. Topics that I study on a daily basis are never typical dinner conversations in my household, and many of my friends from college barely understand how the issues I advocate for affect their lives. Working with my organization, the Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND) Education Fund, and connecting with other Scoville fellows is teaching me how to make these issues relatable to everyday citizens who want to be seen and heard by their government. The greatest gift I have received from Scoville so far is learning how to advocate for tangible change in the country’s most vulnerable communities.

Becoming a Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace fellow has been an absolutely amazing
journey. As a former business student, I didn’t hear much about nuclear nonproliferation and peacebuilding in my lectures, but my professors and I always agreed that economies cannot thrive if safety is not present in a community. Throughout my fellowship thus far, I have learned that it is perfectly acceptable to question the status quo, embrace diverse specialties and skills, and insert myself into untraditional spaces as I navigate my evolving career.

I originally focused my Scoville application on peacebuilding, but as my time
continues at WAND Education Fund, my interest in addressing Pentagon spending grows every day. Because of my business background, I am constantly trying to see how economics and cash flow influence the decisions of the government, private sector, and the public. Surprisingly, from my brief time researching the issue, I have learned that the defense budget is greater than the combined budget of all other federal departments. Economically, socially, environmentally, and politically, this increasing trend is not sustainable for the United States in the long run. Additionally, considering the varied non-traditional threats facing the American people, the government must start expanding investments at home and handling bilateral disputes diplomatically.

This blend of interest in international and domestic economics and defense strategy drove me to think even deeper about why the United States is so focused on building up its military at such an extreme rate. My entire college career I had an interest in the U.S.-China relationship, but I never studied it in depth due to my conflicting class schedule. I decided to use my Scoville experience as my chance to begin researching the region, and found that I had no idea about the amount of military tension that was growing between the two countries. This realization and overall curiosity have now transformed into my Scoville project, and I cannot wait to add this region to my portfolio.

I may not come out of my Scoville experience wanting to be a nuclear scientist or Secretary of Defense, but I do know that I will learn so much about the intersectionality of nuclear issues, myself, and all my Scoville cohort members. This is exactly what the nuclear field needs to be more effective—a larger swath of young people that understand the importance and application of peace and security issues to other fields, so that they use their voices and votes to make lasting change. Becoming a Scoville has been a once in a lifetime experience, and I am sure that there will be many more opportunities to come.

Maggi Chambers is a Fall 2021 Scoville Fellow with Women’s Action for New Directions Education Fund.