Olivia Wee ’25 aims for a career in national security

Olivia Wee ’25.

Olivia Wee ’25 has been “fighting the good fight” for democracy since before she was old enough to vote. Her father, a first-generation American and a corporate lawyer who has volunteered for voter assistance hotlines during elections, gave her the book How Democracies Die when she was 15. And she learned not to take democracy for granted.

Now she’s a McKenna Scholar majoring in Government with a concentration in Foreign Affairs at CMC and pursuing a double major in Russian and Eastern European Studies at Pomona.

With an interest in national security, she’s honing her leadership skills at CMC among those she describes as a “community of doers.”

“In addition to classes for my major, thinking about all the philosophy and literature classes I’ve taken, I’ve been given the opportunity to develop critical thinking skills that I don’t think I could have developed otherwise,” she said. 

Wee, whose current career goal is to work for the federal government in national security, has completed two internships and has planned a third, all in the nation’s capital. “Washington, D.C., is not the most affordable place to live, but CMC’s funding has helped me be there every summer,” she said.

After her first year at CMC, Wee participated in a program with The Fund for American Studies (TFAS), a nonprofit that teaches the principles of limited government, free-market economics and honorable leadership to students and young professionals. In addition to taking summer courses following an international affairs track, she was a strategic development intern at Foreign Policy magazine, where she did research on Ukraine and Russia and drafted proposals for panels and other events.

This past summer she interned with the National War College, which educates future leaders of the Armed Forces, State Department, and other civilian agencies through the study of national security strategy. She helped with research and selected readings for the curriculum on nuclear dynamics in the Korean peninsula, Chinese and Russian influence in Africa, and other topics. She also completed an independent research project on the future of the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, which she presented to the faculty. Afterward, she was surprised with an envelope containing a letter from the President — all the interns qualified for the Presidential Service Award.

This year she will explore her interest in hybrid warfare as an intern at the Department of Defense Information Strategy Research Center, which facilitates research and exploration of information warfare strategies and concepts.

Meanwhile, Wee has been heavily involved in the nonpartisan organization Every Vote Counts, which she had learned about when applying to CMC from her alumni interviewer, Campbell Streator ’18 who currently serves on the national organization’s board.

First as director of voter engagement and then as president of the 5C chapter, Wee has helped lead a number of initiatives to increase voter turnout and expand voter access, like making a video to get out the vote featuring the student body presidents of the 5Cs, sports teams, and student organizations and working with Kravis Lab on a podcast promoting civic engagement and voter education.

“We helped over 190 students vote in the midterm elections,” she said. “And at freshman orientation this year, we registered over 50 students to vote in one day.”

Wee also serves on the organization’s National Student Board and will be incoming director of a new program through Kravis Lab, the Claremont Initiative for Voter Engagement Strategies (CIVES), to research, develop, and promote strategies that increase voter turnout and active citizenship.

“I believe in public service and helping others vote has been a way that I can serve democracy while still a student,” she said.


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