Mathematics Careers at the National Security Agency

Friday, November 17, 2017 - 1:25pm - 2:25pm
Lind 305
Gail Letzter (National Security Agency)
This talk is an overview of what it means to be a mathematician at NSA. I will provide a taste of the diverse areas of mathematics used to solve problems that impact our national security and describe what a career at NSA looks like from the beginning (a comprehensive three year training program) through the myriad of opportunities (conferences, travel, sabbatical-like visits, and more). In addition, I will discuss summer research opportunities at NSA for undergraduate and graduate students.

Dr. Gail Letzter is a senior research mathematician at the National Security Agency and is currently the Technical Director for the Mathematics Research Group. Her technical accomplishments include classified advances in cryptography and communications security, and academic publications in quantum groups and representation theory.

Letzter received her B.A. from Harvard University and her Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Chicago. She spent the first part of her career in academia, with a position at Wayne State University, an NSF postdoc at M.I.T., and ten years as math professor at Virginia Tech. In between the postdoc and the VT position, Letzter squeezed in a one year stint at NSA. She returned to NSA as an applied research mathematician in 2006, served as the Technical Director for the Director's Summer Program (NSA's premier undergraduate mathematics research experience) in 2011 and 2012, and was promoted to NSA's senior ranks in 2014. Letzter is an active member of the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) and is serving a four year term on their executive committee.