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October 2, 2012
Program: Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies
Undergrad: University of Washington
Fast Fact: Tamara specializes in the use of satellite imagery and virtual 3D modeling for nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament research and analysis.
"The NPTS Honors Thesis program gave me both the support and the freedom to explore novel research areas in the field."
Tamara Patton decided early on in her undergraduate education that she wanted to pursue a degree and a career in nuclear nonproliferation.
"I was hooked on the field after my first undergraduate arms control course at the University of Washington," she said. "MIIS was thereafter the natural choice for graduate school given that it offers some of the most specialized training in nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament policy in the world."
As someone without a traditional science background, Tamara says the program's courses on nuclear fuel cycle technology, reactor mechanics, and nuclear weapon physics have enabled her to engage with technical communities involved in these issues in deeper and more productive ways.
"I found the NPTS program valuable for the way that it blends complex technical and policy training in a digestible manner."
As part of the highly selective NPTS Honors Thesis program, Tamara created a 3-D model of the Khushab plutonium production complex in Pakistan. Her research on the project was later cited by the Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance for its innovation.
"The NPTS Honors Thesis program gave me both the support and the freedom to explore novel research areas in the field. My resulting work contributed to exciting new discoveries on ways that freely available satellite imagery and other geospatial tools can be used to strengthen our analysis on historically opaque topics."
Tamara's goal now is to continue developing these new geospatial methodologies through expanding their scope and accuracy via new case studies and applications.
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Second-year NPTS student Tamara Patton’s research on geospatial analysis was cited by Assistant Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller as an example of innovative new arms control verification techniques.