Women in Homeland Security: Career Insights

Four panelists, women in homeland security
Panelists from left to right: Kathleen Harasek, Cynthia Strand, Ret. Rear Admiral Danelle Barrett, Maria Berliner.
March 27, 2022

Four women with noteworthy careers in homeland security served as panelists at a virtual fireside chat sponsored by three programs in the George Washington University’s College of Professional Studies: the master’s degree program in cybersecurity strategy and information management and the bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in homeland security.

The discussion focused primarily on the various opportunities for women in the fields of homeland security and cybersecurity.

Directors from the sponsoring programs were present to serve as hosts for the event. Elaine Lammert, director of GW’s master’s program in homeland security, acted as moderator, presenting panelists with a variety of questions from how they got into the field to what advice they might give women considering a similar professional path.

“This arena is constantly changing, whether it’s Ukraine or the rise of extremism in this country,” Lammert said. “There’s always a need for professionals in this field.”


  • Cynthia Strand spent 35 years in the CIA and now directs Global Intelligence Strategy at Primer.ai, a language processing and generation startup. 
  • Kathleen Harasek, M.P.S. ’12, has over 30 years of law enforcement experience and serves as an adjunct professor in GW’s homeland security program. She retired from the U.S. Park Police, where she was responsible for the security of monuments, memorials and the National Mall.
  • Ret. Rear Admiral Danelle Barrett left active duty in the U.S. Navy after three decades of service. She served as director of current operations at U.S. Cyber Command, and as the Navy cyber security division director and deputy chief information officer on the chief of naval operations staff.
  • Maria Berliner, managing director of the RTG-Red Team Group and a GW professor of intelligence and strategic analysis, is recognized as a subject-matter expert on risks and threats to the United States, its government, and its private industry, with regional expertise in Latin America, the Middle East and China.

Jeff Delinski, program director for the bachelor’s in homeland security and Connie Uthoff, associate program director for the master's in cybersecurity strategy & information management also served as event hosts.

Read the complete coverage in GW Today, “Homeland Security Is a Team Effort, Experts Agree,” 03/04/22, by Greg Varner.

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