Matt Chambers

Degree objective:  

Bachelor in International Affairs from the School of Public and International Affairs

Anticipated graduation date:
Fall 2010

High School/Hometown
Brookwood High School in Snellville, Ga.

University highlights, achievements and awards
My biggest achievement has been successfully repairing my GPA after a year of neglect.  After my first semester, I brandished a whopping 1.67 GPA.  When I returned to school after an eight year absence, I started with a 2.2 and no HOPE scholarship.  Thanks to a more inspired effort and lots of late nights, I will graduate cum laude. Another highlight of my time at UGA was not on campus. I spent the fall term of 2009 in the Washington Semester Program working at National Defense University's Institute for National Strategic Studies, Future Strategic Concepts Program.  While there, I conducted open source research on Nuclear Posturing, Deterrence and Non-Proliferation for.Elaine Bunn, director of the program. I researched foundational level issues in regards to the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review, and prepared reports and talking points for Nuclear Deterrence workshops in Dubai, United Arad Emirates; Paris, France; and Tokyo, Japan. I assisted in the collection of data for and attended strategic dialogues between INSS and China’s People's Liberation Army's Institute for Strategic Studies; participated in the Nuclear Proliferation and Deterrence workshop at the Woodrow Wilson Center; and attended the Nuclear Futures Project at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory. This type of high-level exposure is something that cannot be gained in the classroom, and I encourage every student to spend at least one semester away from campus, gaining practical experience in their chosen field.

If you are currently employed, where do you work and what do you do?  
I am currently a Security Leadership Fellow at the Center for International Trade and Security, which consists of a semester-long nonproliferation and strategic trade control focused course.  The course included a Weapons of Mass Destruction terrorism simulation and a graduate-level research study. I researched strategic trade control violations and trade relations on the Saudi Peninsula under the direction of CITS Executive Director Scott Jones. I compiled data on CARICOM (the Caribbean community) states’ treaty compliance and strategic trade legislation in support of a government research grant under the direction of Seema Gahlaut. I also, participated in managing the logistics for the spring 2010 session of the Export Control Academy, a globally-recognized training forum on strategic trade controls. The spring 2010 session consisted of 26 guests representing 16 different international governments. Finally, I was able to participate in the CITS Week in Washington, which included meetings and Q&A sessions with select U.S. government officials related to nonproliferation policy and strategic trade controls.

I chose to attend UGA because...
…of its immense research opportunities and its recognized quality of education.  I originally was accepted into the university in the fall of 1998.  After spending two fruitless semesters honing my apathy, I left and pursued life without a college education. I found that time to be an enlightening period in my life. After spending four years traveling as a waiter with Dave and Buster's and another four years as an airman in the Air Force, I decided I needed to be back in school full-time. Returning to UGA was a no-brainer for me. I knew that UGA would provide me the opportunities to succeed, regardless of what area of study I ultimately chose.  It doesn't hurt that I love UGA football, either!

My favorite thing to do on campus is... 
…outside of the obvious favorite of football games, I really enjoy attending comedy shows at the Tate Center, thanks to the University Union. I also have enjoyed the multitude of fascinating speakers that have lectured here.  There seems to be a great guest speaker every week, and I highly encourage all students to take advantage of them.  Once you are out of school, it is difficult and usually expensive to attend lectures such as these.

When I have free time, I like...
… working with the youth group and children's ministries at Bay Creek Community Church in Grayson.  I am a big “homebody,” so I enjoy sitting in my living room with my dogs and hanging out with my wife. It's nice to have a comfortable place to escape to from the craziness of life. When I find I need a real break, I head to Panama City (not beach), Fla. to go fishing with my father-in-law, who lives within three miles of three different boat ramps and is always ready to hit the water when my wife and I come into town.
 
The craziest thing I've done is... 
… fly 400 feet below sea level over the Dead Sea while on a temporary deployment in Israel with my squadron in 2005.  I was attached to an F-16 squadron, and while we were there for a training mission, I was offered the chance for an “incentive ride” in recognition of my hard work.  After a maximum performance take-off and a short ride out into the southern tip of Israel, I was given control of the aircraft for about 30 minutes. We pulled an 8.3G turn and buzzed the resorts on the Dead Sea.  The altimeter read 99,600; I didn't even know that was possible.

My favorite place to study is... 
… the fourth floor of the main library.  While I am convinced the chairs were bought during the inaugural year of the school, the lack of people on their phones and people in general make it very conducive to concentrating. It also happens to be one of the few floors with a bathroom, which is essential for long bouts of studying.

My favorite professor is…
…Chris Tucker.  He teaches the first semester of the Security Leadership Program, which is one of the most interesting and challenging courses I have taken in my collegiate career.  Professor Tucker does a very good job of explaining the complex issues of Weapons of Mass Destruction, which bring them into perspective.  His dry wit and unrivaled knowledge of 80’s pop culture references helps to ease the mood in a class that has such an important and potentially dire topic. Also, he has a bird named “Snake”; how can you not love that?

If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with...
… Bernard Brodie.  He was the one of the first people to consider the strategic implications of nuclear weapons and one of the most thorough thinkers on deterrence and the changing security landscape since the introduction of the nuclear bomb. I would love to hear his thoughts on the strategic value of nuclear weapons in the post-Cold War era, as well as the potential of stemming the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction in a world where PS3s have computer chips that can be used as missile guidance systems.

If I knew I could not fail, I would... 
…bring peace to the Middle East.  Of all the problems in the world, the deep-seated animosity among Israel and its neighbors has the greatest potential to deteriorate into a catastrophe the likes of which we may not have seen before.  Of all of the historical rivalries, this one has the most day-to-day impact on people's lives and its resolution could usher in an era devoid of conflict, which has not been experienced in more than100 years.

After graduation, I plan to... 
…move to Washington, D.C. to pursue a career in national security with a focus on Weapons of Mass Destruction nonproliferation.  I hope to continue to keep close ties with UGA’s Center for International Trade and Security.  Moving my family to Washington will be a logistical nightmare, but one that ultimately will be rewarding. In the next few years, I hope to enroll in a master's program in order to further study effective means of stemming proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and their components.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…
…having the campus police call on me while scouting a site for my terrorism simulation midterm project.  The professor got a text message from one of his fellow researchers that read "Chris, there were men with guns looking for you.  I gave them your number." The morbid task of trying to find holes in security that would allow for a Weapons of Mass Destruction terrorist attack on the campus was disturbing and sobering.  The exercise helps university police and faculty identify areas where simple changes can have an enormous impact on the security of the student population.