Eagle Mother of Four Strives for a Career in Security and Intelligence

Katie Hammond and family
Katie Hammond and her husband, who serves in the U.S. Navy, have four young children. Juggling family, school and work has been challenging, but Hammond is slated to graduate with her Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security in October. (Photo: Katie Hammond)

Looking forward to graduating this fall, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University student Katie Hammond admitted there have been plenty of times over the past five years when she felt overwhelmed.

“My husband is active-duty U.S. Navy and mostly on a ship, so it’s usually just me,” said Hammond, who is the mother of four young children, including two with special needs. “It is consistently stressful, and the logistics are complicated.”

But Hammond, who is earning her Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security, said she just focuses on one term at a time and keeps going.

“I want to contribute to the success of our family and establish my own identity and career,” she said. “I found that if I want something, the only person holding myself back is myself.”

Hammond, who lives in San Diego, originally planned to become a nurse; however, working for a year in security for the U.S. Navy changed her mind. That’s when her interest in security and intelligence took root.

“I worked in a naval command’s security department, and I realized how much bigger the purpose was,” she said. “We are protecting the country’s safety and security. It’s exciting.”

Katie Hammond on the U.S.S. Nimitz
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University student Katie Hammond worked as a Command Ombudsman for the U.S.S. Nimitz (CVN 68) in 2022. (Photo: Katie Hammond)

Her ideal job would be working in intelligence for a government agency in the Washington, D.C., area, she said.

Taking classes through Embry-Riddle’s Worldwide Campus has allowed Hammond the flexibility to earn her degree while also caring for her children: Lauren, 11; Alex, 9; Hunter, 6; and Mason, 3. She also has held a full-time job most of the time that she has been a student, and, just recently, she made the tough decision to stop working her senior year to focus on her studies.

“I’ve learned not to be ashamed if things become so much that you have to take a step back,” she said. “My education is my top priority right now.”

Growing up in the Seattle area, she said her father worked at The Boeing Company, where she first became familiar with Embry-Riddle.

“It is a respected school, so that confirmed that I was in the right place,” said Hammond. “Also, I have access to instructors working in the field and at agencies. To message them for advice and have that personal connection, it’s just unmatched.”

Dr. Nicole Bier, assistant professor in the Worldwide Campus College of Aviation, knows firsthand that Hammond is passionate about the intelligence community. Hammond earned the highest overall grade in her advanced intelligence course, she said, and went above and beyond collecting as much information as possible for each assignment, approaching each project as if it were a real-world intelligence report.

Hammond said she is looking forward to walking across the stage and receiving her degree this fall, and her family is excited for her to finish so that she can spend more time with them.

“For my 30th birthday, I plan to attend my Worldwide Campus graduation, in October, in Dallas,” said Hammond. “I’m hoping for my whole family to attend. I want my children to realize that all good things in life take hard work, and the reward is worth it.”

Posted In: Security Intelligence and Safety