Grace Farson, who is graduating with a bachelor's degree in mathematics from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln this weekend, recently presented her research through the National Strategic Research Institute (NSRI) at a Project on Nuclear Issues (PONI) Conference in Hawaii.
Grace, who has participated as an NSRI strategic deterrence intern for the past two summers, shared highlights of her research contributions in 2022, which applied mathematical game theory to determine possible nuclear conflict between Russia, China and the U.S. The research aims to model nuclear escalation dynamics for the U.S., which faces two nuclear near-peer competitors for the first time in history.
Why does this research matter?
Deterrence strategies are rooted in bipolarity but, now that the U.S. faces two nuclear near-peer competitors, we need to analyze possible tripolar deterrence strategies and applicable policy implications.
What did you learn from presenting at the PONI conference?
This experience taught me the importance of being able to present and describe technical research to audience members that come from different disciplines. In order to effectively analyze future policy implications and come up with new deterrence strategies, technical experts need to be able to explain their research in a way that all audience members can understand. This conference was the first step in my career to communicate technical research to pursue national security objectives.
How did this experience help you grow professionally?
As an undergraduate student in a technical field, I don't have many opportunities to present or brief research. After graduation, I will pursue a doctorate in mechanical engineering to eventually work for an agency in the intelligence community. It is imperative that I can communicate technical research to a wide variety of audiences to inform policymakers and further national security objectives. Presenting research at the PONI Winter Conference gave me the confidence and skill set necessary to excel in my future career.
How has this experience influenced your career path?
This experience further solidified my passion for national security and mathematics. I loved sharing my technical research with professionals and discussing the possible impacts national security research can have. I want to pursue a career that is not only rewarding but also exciting, and this conference taught me that there is nothing more rewarding and exciting than working to further national security objectives. The PONI Winter Conference led me to understand the impacts and relevance of my research.
Learn more about NSRI student opportunities at nsri.nebraska.edu/workforce.
About the National Strategic Research Institute
Through the National Strategic Research Institute at the University of Nebraska leading scientists deliver innovative national security research, technology, product and strategy development, training and exercises, and subject matter expertise to the Department of Defense and other federal agencies. One of only 15 DOD-designated University Affiliated Research Centers in the country, NSRI is sponsored by U.S. Strategic Command and works to ensure the United States’ safety and preparedness against increasingly sophisticated threats. Read about our mission.