Hannah Woodford-Smith - cybersecurity and criminology unite

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Hannah Woodford-Smith completed a flexible double degree in International Security Studies and Criminology at the Australian National University

With a self-proclaimed “clichéd dream to help people and affect positive change in the world,” Hannah Woodford-Smith enrolled in the Bachelor of International Security Studies and Bachelor of Criminology program after realising her initial plan to become a teacher just wasn’t for her.

“If I can affect change in the world of security, and protect people by doing so, it’s going to help me realise that dream.”

Hannah began at The Australian National University (ANU) after completing a gap year, which she spent volunteering at a zoo and working in childcare. In high school, her teachers and peers all thought she’d pursue a career in teaching or nursing, and she actually enrolled in a teaching program before deferring.

During her gap year her priorities changed direction and led her to find a passion for international relations and cybersecurity.

“I kind of fell into the Bachelor of International Security Studies program. I started in Criminology, took a security elective, and loved it!”

Hannah was able to combine the two programs through the Flexible Double Degree. Her decision paid off. In her third year, Hannah began working at the ANU Cybercrime Observatory, connecting her with clients overseas and in government, and giving her invaluable experience in the field.

Studying at ANU just opens up so many opportunities. Where else can you learn from former Ambassadors or Secretaries of government departments? I was fortunate enough to study under the guidance of academics as distinguished as John Blaxland and Hugh White. The teaching staff are also interested in seeing you succeed. If you show interest and engage in the learning experience they respond to that, by extending you and pushing you to do better.

One of Hannah's significant achievements was the publication of her research report on the risks of cyber terrorism attacks on an international forum supported by the Korean Institute of Criminology and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Adding to her impressive resume, in the first semester of her last year, Hannah started an internship with a leading defence contractor.

“The internship gave me the opportunity to connect with industry and the public sector, and apply the theories I have learnt in a practical setting. All my experiences at ANU have led to where I am. I am so excited to continue down the path of a career in security – observing how states deal with security issues, especially these days, is fascinating.”

Hannah is currently working as Senior Analyst at OCRT, a strategy, intelligence and communication consulting firm in Canberra.