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Weekly All School Bulletin

Diana Smith '55, Cooler Than 007
Posted 03/16/2018 07:26PM


Diana Smith '55, Cooler Than 007

The Smith Cornerstone Room was silent as Upper Schoolers sat with open ears and eager eyes as Diana Smith '55 sat down to share her experiences working as an American intelligence officer. Upper School English teacher and English Department Chair Mary Sharnick invited Ms. Smith to share her expert perspective as the students continue reading Ian Fleming's famed James Bond spy novels.

A proud St. Margaret's graduate, Diana has been a fixture of the Chase community for many years and is always willing to assist with endeavours on campus. Ms. Smith previously spoke at Chase as the Tremaglio Guest Lecturer in 2009 when she presented A World of Difference, discussing foreign and national security policy issues surrounding the Middle East.

Ms. Smith began her discussion by outlining her experience in the intelligence field, from her time overseas as an intelligence officer to the vital role she played in briefing sitting Presidents on matters of espionage and intelligence. She also shared her  thoughts on the current state of America and international intelligence and how the systems currently in place have grown and changed through the years. Chase kids were then able to ask questions they had prepared for Ms. Smith, drawing upon themes they encountered in Mrs. Sharnicks' class.

The students were eager to learn more about the steps she took to become an intelligence officer, inquiring about what courses to take in their undergraduate career and what majors were beneficial to breaking into the field.  Ms. Smith strayed away from advising on one specific college path - instead encouraging students to "Diversify [their] academics with internships and summer jobs, and of course, keep [their] criminal record clean."

One of the most anticipated answers came from a student's question regarding Ms. Smith's experience as a female in a male dominated profession. While it was indeed uncommon for a woman to break into the intelligence field in the 1960's, Ms. Smith was fortunate to have supervisors who encouraged her to further develop and hone her professional skills.

Ms. Smith is now happily retired and living in Woodbury. We are so proud of the many accomplishments she has achieved in her professional life and are even more proud of her willingness to come back to Chase to  inspire future generations of lifelong learners.

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