Alumna Working at National Nuclear Security Administration

woman with dark brown hair in glasses sitting in an armchair

College of Arts & Letters alumna Kyle Pilutti is working on nuclear nonproliferation issues at the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) as part of a year-long fellowship program. After graduating from MSU in 2013 with a B.A. in Humanities Prelaw and Arabic, Pilutti worked as a Research Assistant at Ploughshares Fund and won the United Nation’s Essay Competition on her research surrounding Weapons of Mass Destruction. She also earned a master’s degree in Non-Proliferation and Terrorism Studies from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, California.

What are you doing at the NNSA?
My current position at the NNSA is a year-long fellowship program in which I work on nuclear nonproliferation issues. Currently, I work on international nuclear safeguards issues. I focus on international outreach to encourage the application of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards agreements such as the Additional Protocol. It has been a great experience so far. I have learned a lot about the NNSA and believe the program will serve as a valuable springboard for my future career in nuclear issues.

How has your position with the NNSA influenced your career?
My position has offered me valuable insight into how nuclear policy is handled on the U.S. side of things. Additionally, working in Washington, D.C., has given me access to people from all over the nuclear security complex and has allowed me to get to know the other agencies and departments better. 

What was your winning UN competition essay about?
My essay was on the future U.S. implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540. The resolution works to counter Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) proliferation with a particular focus on how to keep WMDs out of the hands of non-state actors. As one of the countries who have already implemented the majority of the different security and organizational obligations, my suggestion for further U.S. implementation of the resolution was to focus on international outreach to assist other countries who might not otherwise have the resources or indigenous expertise to implement their obligations.

This was an international essay competition, so I was extremely proud to be counted among the other extremely qualified finalists who came from a variety of different regions and cultures.

Explain what you did at Ploughshares Fund.
I gained experience working on nuclear issues from the advocacy perspective, which was not one that I had throughout my studies. As the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or commonly known as the Iran deal, was in question at my time at Ploughshares Fund, I spent a large portion of my time focusing on that. I typically assisted in compiling background information and organizing outreach efforts.

Were you involved in any organizations at MSU that have impacted your career?
The Arabic program was probably the most influential thing I was involved with at MSU. The program was extremely useful to me because after undergrad I continued to study Arabic, and I have been able to use my language skills in my current job from time to time. 

How did your time at MSU prepare you for your career? 
I participated in an intensive Arabic program while I was at MSU and my continued Arabic studies was actually what pushed me towards the master’s program that introduced me to the world of nuclear policy. My international travel that I did for my language studies led me to want to work in international outreach. I love traveling and working in other regions and cultures. While I will most likely not be focusing solely on the Arab world in my future positions, I hope to continue to work in the international side of things and my language and regional experience will only serve to help me in that.

Written by Annie Dubois