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Kelsey Ritchie, 2018-19 Brumley Fellow

Mar 11, 2021 |

Kelsey Ritchie, a 2018-19 Brumley Fellow with a concentration in our Terrorism and Counterterrorism program, recently participated in a Q&A on her time at the Strauss Center and her work after graduation.

Tell us what you are working on these days. “I work for Deloitte’s government consulting practice. Currently, I am working on a contract with CISA to identify mis- and disinformation about COVID-19, as well foreign influence leading up to the election. In this role, I lead the analyst team and produce daily, weekly, and long-term analysis products for our client. I developed a framework for identifying foreign influence and for identifying inauthentic amplification. I work with several teaming partners, including Graphika and Yonder, to build out network analysis on information campaigns.  

Before this project, I worked directly for a partner at Deloitte to expand our business with Special Operations Command and Central Command. I actually brought in Admiral McRaven to interview for a “thought leadership” piece that Deloitte produced on the future of culture transformation in SOCOM! I also worked on a project for the Office of the Secretary of Defense to design a vendor risk vetting program for any electronic merchandise sold on a military base. I have really enjoyed my time at Deloitte!”

During her year-long Brumley program research project, Kelsey completed a 71-page thesis on recommended U.S. counterterrorism strategy in the wake of the collapse of the Islamic State, including on-the-ground interviews at the International Center for Counterterrorism at IDC-Herzliya. Kelsey was mentored through this rigorous work by Dr. Samy Ayoub, faculty at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and the School of Law. 

How do you think the Brumley program has helped you in your professional capacity? “The most important skill I gained from Brumley was always to come to a meeting prepared. Have questions ready for the speaker, have your own thoughts gathered, and be fully present. The speaker roundtables that we had taught me this skill over and over again, and it is something I use every day in consulting.”  

What are some new things you’ve discovered about yourself post-Brumley or post-graduation? “I discovered that I really, really love school! I miss the chance to learn from experts every day and to have the chance to dig into topics. To compensate, I have joined several young professionals programs in D.C. that host speaker series and provide research opportunities.”  

Anything that you miss about UT? “The Austin food scene is unbeatable.” 

What are the most surprising things about your post-UT career? “Well, spending the first year after UT dealing with a global pandemic wasn’t ever really on my radar. But in all seriousness, I have been most surprised to have the chance to work on election security and foreign interference through my position in the private sector. My current job has made me realize the enormous role that the private sector plays in national security and foreign policy.” 

What advice do you have to our current Brumley fellows? “Come to meetings prepared, choose a research topic that really interests you, and take advantage of the research stipend! I used mine to go to Israel to study interfaith reconciliation and deradicalization programs, and it was one of the most transformative experiences in my life!”

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