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From the Winter 2003 Issue of Drury Magazine: Containing the Smallest Terrorists
Alumni Profile: Kathleen Vogel '93
Dr. Kathleen Vogel '93 has been there. Amazingly, she keeps going back.
Through grants from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the U.S. Institute of Peace, Vogel was able to conduct field research on the subjects of proliferation and conversion at former Soviet biological weapons facilities. In addition to these projects, her work at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, focused on "biosecurity:" analyzing the threats of illicit diversion involving dangerous pathogens and examining ways to mitigate these threats.
| ||You step into a cluttered, run-down laboratory in the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan. Your guide walks to an old refrigerator in the corner and pulls open the door. Inside, tin cans are loaded with test tubes and ampules. "This is plague," says your guide, pointing to one can, then another. "This is anthrax." |
Vogel's interest in the former Soviet bioweapons program most recently prompted a move to Washington, DC, and a new job at the State Department's Bureau of Nonproliferation, Office of Proliferation Threat Reduction.
While Vogel began working on biosecurity and nonproliferation issues before September 11, 2001, and before recent conflicts with Iraq and North Korea, the topic now gets much more attention. "It does contribute to homeland security issues," she says. The White House and Congress actively support efforts to help scientists in the former Soviet Union safeguard their pathogen collections and redirect their scientific activities toward peaceful purposes.
|Vogel (right) tours Stepnogorsk biological weapons production facility. The facility's director, Gennady Lepyoshken, is second from the left. |
What she does now may seem a long way from her days as a chemistry major at Drury, but Kathleen says Drury helped nourish her interests in many areas: "I was always interested in interdisciplinary fields at Drury...My Drury education helped lay the groundwork for my graduate school studies and my ultimate transition to science policy work." After Drury, Vogel earned a Ph.D. in chemistry at Princeton University and completed postdoctoral studies at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies and Cornell University's Peace Studies Program before her move to Sandia, where she held a joint position at the University of New Mexico's Institute for Public Policy.
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