IPI Program Coordinator Michael Walstrom reached out to Cybersecurity Fellow Grant Dailey to learn more about his experiences conducting and guiding research. Grant Dailey is a concurrent Masters student in the Jackson School of International Studies and Evans School of Public Policy. He recently participated in a Global Research Group project for Microsoft, where he served as a senior researcher investigating election security and threats to democracy around the globe.
Q: When did you first hear about the IPI and how did you initially get involved?
A: I first heard of IPI through Dr. Jessica Beyer. Dr. Beyer had been a guest speaker in my JSIS 501 Comparative International Studies course where she shared her personal research with our class. I was immediately captivated by the unique questions and methodologies that Dr. Beyer explored in her research. I had just begun conceptualizing my thesis and I realized that she could prove an excellent resource in refining my research question, so I reached out for a follow-up. It was during that meeting that Dr. Beyer informed me of the IPI and invited me to attend to a meeting to see if I was interested in the type of work the fellows were doing.
Q: What kind of impact can this research make and what do you hope to do with it?
A: The research conducted by the fellows is instrumental because it adds a cultural and historical context to many of the ongoing political discussions around cybersecurity. By understanding these important nuances, it becomes easier to discern international motivations, their implications, and predict potential future activities. I hope that this research helps to draw attention to the value that regional studies experts can contribute to technical fields such as cybersecurity.
Q: What are some of your career goals and how is your work with the IPI helping you achieve them?
A: I was recently offered a full-time position with the King County Auditor’s Office that begins upon graduation. The IPI was a huge benefit during my initial job search and during my time interning with the Auditor’s Office. IPI helped me to refine my ability to scope research objectives, define data collection strategies, and succinctly report findings. These skills have proved invaluable in my role with the County.
Q: Turning to your work with the Global Research Group, how did you get involved with this project, and what was your role?
A: Jessica Beyer informed me about the Global Research Group Projects and mentioned that she was in need of a Senior Researcher who could help guide other students and edit final products before submission to the clients. After learning of the project, I was very eager to take part in any way that I could. As a Senior Researcher, I helped scope the research questions submitted by the client, created outlines to guide the team’s research, edited report drafts, and served as a resource to answer any questions or concerns that may have been raised by the other researchers.
Q: What was the research process like? Was it similar to, or different from experiences in other classes or on other collaborative projects? How so?
A: The research process mirrored experiences from other classes and collaborative projects in terms of information gathering. However, the process of incorporating our findings into a finalized report was quite different from other projects. Since the intended readers were members of a specific, professional audience, our writing needed to be more concise and pointed than many other research projects. Furthermore, since the report incorporated many distinct case studies, there was a large emphasis on creating report outlines that tied each case study together in a way that created an interconnected body of work while simultaneously allowing each case the freedom to explore any unique aspects necessary to understand that case. As a result, the report evolved in shape and scope more frequently than many other projects that I have been involved with.
Q: How’d it feel going to Microsoft and seeing the report presented?
A: It was an incredible experience being able to present all of the hard work that the team had done over the course of the quarter at Microsoft. I was very impressed by everyone’s ability to communicate their research and to respond to questions from the audience.
Q: Do you have any suggestions for future IPI fellows and GRG participants? How might they better prepare themselves for this kind of work?
A: If you are looking for an opportunity to leverage your ability to conduct research in a professional setting or for a more professional audience, the GRG projects are excellent opportunities. In both the GRG and the IPI, you will be surrounding by very smart, motivated, and enthusiastic people. Be sure to make use of them! These projects usually move very fast and may require you to write in a tone or style that you are not used to writing in. Be sure to reach out early and often to your peers, the senior researchers, or the faculty lead! They are excellent resources and are eager to help.