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Shannon Nash, BA ‘07 Emerging Thought Leader in International Security

Shannon Nash, BA ‘07 Emerging Thought Leader in International Security

Date: Friday, April 09, 2021
St. Jerome’s University alumna Shannon Nash, BA ’07 has been recognized as an Emerging Thought Leader by Women in International Security-Canada (WIIS). Nash, who graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Master of Arts (History), and a PhD from the University of Toronto, is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Trent University. She is also the Network Manager of the North American and Arctic Defence and Security Network (NAADSN), where she works and collaborates with experts, emerging scholars, and students working in defence and security. Her research on terrorism in Canada drew the attention of the WIIS-Canada group, who solicited a call for researchers to submit their work as part of its inaugural Emerging Thought Leader initiative.  
 
WIIS is the premier organization in the world dedicated to advancing the leadership and professional development of women in the field of international peace and security. In addition to sponsoring leadership training and mentoring, WIIS-Canada supports research projects and policy engagement initiatives on critical international security issues, including the nexus between gender and security. Their call for researchers to submit work brought out what the Chair of WIIS’s Board Aisha Ahmad described as, “the best of the best.”
 
“We received a tremendous response,” noted Ahmad, adding that they went through the list in each scholarly cluster – Climate Change, Digital Security, Law and Security, National Security, and Conflict and Wars - identifying those who were the most innovative and exciting and who they wanted their wider academic and policy networks to pay attention to.
 
“These were people whose ideas we could see at the frontier of new knowledge generation,” noted Ahmad. “Shannon Nash was at the very top of our list.”
 
Nash’s story leading up to this National Security recognition reads like many undergraduate students at St. Jerome’s University: a strong connection to the university through family members that had also attended, and an uncertainty about where her path would take her following her undergraduate years. 
 
“I was drawn to the community and opportunities at SJU,” noted Nash. “I felt a pull there, almost as if it was an inevitability. It turned out that the decision to attend SJU brought me right where I was supposed to be.”
 
With an open mind to what was possible, Nash thought she wanted to be a teacher, but fell in love with studying history. Professors like Dr. P. Whitney Lackenbauer, who taught a “Canada in World Affairs” course at SJU, inspired her. He continues to mentor her in his role as the Network Lead at NAADSN. Nash followed her interests in graduate school where she worked with other valued mentors, professors, and colleagues that challenged her. Her work has focused on terrorism and counterterrorism and the reality of perceived threats and how myths and misperceptions are formed and propagated. 

Building off of her PhD work, Nash is also pursuing research on how the idea of a terrorist sleeper intersects with an “us” versus “them” counterterrorism discourse and the rise of prejudice and right-wing extremism. As a postdoctoral fellow she continues to engage with the topics and debates surrounding issues related to National Security.
 
“Nash’s insights on terrorism in Canada are not only desperately needed in academia,” Ahmad added, “but they also directly speak to Canadian security policy. WIIS-Canada was delighted to have her as one of our Emerging Thought Leaders, and we look forward to promoting her research to our wider networks. She is one to watch!”
 
Shannon Nash in Washington
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Archive photo: Shannon Nash in Washington, D.C. 2020