Whitney McIntosh '17

An interview with FSI student alumna, Whitney McIntosh:

Whitney McIntosh '17

1. Major

Double major in International Relations and English

 2. Hometown

Melbourne, Australia

 3. FSI Affiliations while at Stanford, and brief descriptions of each

Research Assistant

During sophomore and junior year, I conducted research under Professor Stephen Stedman for his project on the evolution of the concept of security. Professor Stedman and I set up a research collaboration between FSI and Professor Mark Algee-Hewitt and Erik Fredner at the Stanford Literary Lab, to conduct this research with both qualitative and quantitative methods. This research is ongoing and results will hopefully be published in a forthcoming article. Under Professor Stedman's mentorship, I gained a grasp how to conduct qualitative research and learnt about the power of interdisciplinary collaboration. 

 FSI Mentored Global Fellowship Grant

At the end of my sophomore year, I was awarded a Mentored Global Fellowship Grant to conduct archival research for my senior honors thesis. I travelled to Paris, where I worked in several archives over the summer, including the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Archives Nationale, and the Ministère des Affaires Étrangères. My time in the archives gave me a strong grounding in archival work and allowed me to collect the research that served as a backbone for my honors thesis.

 FSI Internship at UNESCO

The summer after my junior year, I interned at the World Heritage Centre at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. I worked specifically in the Policy and Statutory Meetings (PSM) unit, which prepares the World Heritage Committee Sessions held every year to determine which sites should be added to the World Heritage List. I assisted in statutory tasks related to the nomination process and worked with the nomination dossiers that countries compile to present to the World Heritage Committee. The time I spent at UNESCO gave me deep insight into inter-governmental decision making, and the value of inter-governmental infrastructure for the protection and conservation of heritage. I also had an incredible time with the staff and interns at the UNESCO office, all of whom are incredible people committed to service through the preservation of culture worldwide. 

 CDDRL Honors Program

Over the last year, I worked on my thesis, “France and the Internationalization of Security” (summarized below) in the interdisciplinary CDDRL Honors program, under the advisement of Professor Stephen Stedman. Being part of the CDDRL Honors cohort has been one of the most challenging and fulfilling experiences of my Stanford career. The cohort was made up students studying a variety of disciplines—from human biology to computer science to history—and their various perspectives allowed for lively debate and discussion in our research seminars, that pushed all of our boundaries. Through the program, our cohort also travelled to Washington D.C. for Honors college, where we were able to interact with a variety of non-governmental and governmental organizations, to learn about policy applications in the real world. 

4. Honors Thesis Title and brief description 

     “France and the Internationalization of Security: A Conceptual History of Security During the Interwar Years (1919-1933)”

During the interwar period in France, the meaning of “security” evolved from a very narrow summation of French desires for territorial guarantees against Germany, to a broad conception that concerned a wide array of values and crossed national and regional boundaries—much like the concept of security as it is used today. My thesis explains this evolution by examining shifts in domestic concerns in France and the internationalization of the concept through the League of Nations. Domestically, emergent socio-cultural concerns about demographic weakness in the face of external aggression gradually brought the French family under the guise of the state. The conflation of military affairs and socio-cultural issues into ‘national security’ concerns expanded the remit of the concept of security. Concurrently, through several international negotiations and League Assemblies, the idea of security was expanded to relate to all nations and adopted into international discourse. My thesis thus examines the contextual and cultural changes that led to the expansion of the notion of security over such a short period of time, to better understand its origins and add specificity to its future usage.

 5. Future aspirations post-Stanford

After Stanford, I hope to pursue graduate studies in Political Science. I have really enjoyed the time I’ve spent at Stanford and abroad conducting research, and would like to continue to do so in the future at either a university or a think tank.

6. How your experience with FSI has influenced your academic and/or professional aspirations

I am extremely grateful for all my experiences the Freeman Spogli Institute has given me throughout my time at Stanford. Being part of such an excellent network of faculty has opened my eyes to new avenues of research, diverse research methods for understanding different problems, and new ways of thinking about the world. My time at FSI also made me realize how it important it was to me to be an environment where people constantly challenge each other and welcome new analyses and solutions to the world’s problems. I hope to work at an institution like FSI in the future, where I can conduct high quality research that has real world applications and serves others.