2020 Hoyas for Science Recipient
M.S. in Biohazardous Threat Agents & Emerging Infectious Diseases
Abigail Staggemeier is from Huntington Beach, California. Before coming to Georgetown’s Biomedical Graduate Education, Abigail studied at University of California, San Diego where she received her Bachelor’s degree in International Relations – Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies.
Why did you choose Biomedical Graduate Education at Georgetown University?
I chose to pursue a Master’s in Biohazardous Threat Agents and Emerging Infectious Diseases because of the program’s unique blend of global affairs and the biological sciences. The department offers many outlets for exploring the intersection between the two, and provides students the opportunity to partner with faculty who are not only academics but esteemed professionals in their respective fields.
What do you hope to accomplish here at Georgetown and/or what is your interest in biomedical research or graduate studies?
I aim to achieve a holistic understanding of the intersection of science and international policy. My interest in Biosecurity grew from my love of Russian and Soviet history and culminated with an undergraduate thesis on the Soviet biowarfare program and its implications on the modern stage of biosecurity and biowarfare mitigation. I am primarily interested in bioterrorism and the impact of cutting-edge technology on biodefense, as well as the implications of such developments with regards to counterintelligence and threat analysis.
What is your life motto for overcoming challenges and/or supporting diversity and cultural understanding?
Kurt Vonnegut was one of those rare authors capable of personally unraveling the common plights of the human condition before relaying his own insights in a matter relatable to his audience. His takes on freedom, conflict, diversity, truth, and growth continue to challenge me after countless re-reads through his works. I believe his perception of culture and diversity is one well worth emulating, as he maintained that “…culture isn’t a rational invention; that there are thousands of other cultures and they all work pretty well; that all cultures function on faith rather than truth; that there are lots of alternatives to our own society. Cultural relativity is defensible and attractive. It’s also a source of hope. It means we don’t have to continue this way if we don’t like it.”