Political Science Alumna Makes Her Mark on National Security at Lockheed Martin 

Alanna Reynolds in her Lockheed Martin shirt

Alanna Reynolds ‘16 ‘19MA shows just what it means to work hard, persevere through challenges and keep pressing on to pursue her goals. She earned her MA in Political Science and Government in 2019 and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Security Studies at the School of Politics, Security, and International Affairs. Reynolds is the perfect example of a UCF alumna who is passionate about continual learning, networking and giving back to the UCF community.  

After graduating with her MA, Reynolds began working at Lockheed Martin and currently serves as an Intelligence Analyst Senior. Her path to this role wasn’t always easy. And as a woman in a male-dominated industry, Reynolds is an inspiration to others to dream big and work hard. In Aug. 2023, her accomplishments were recognized with the UCF Young Alumni Award. She also serves on the College of Sciences Alumni Board.  

Discovering Her Passion at UCF 

Like many students, Reynolds wasn’t quite sure what she wanted to do when she graduated with her BA in English and Spanish Language and Literature at UCF. While studying a diversity of subjects that interested her, she became involved in the Intelligence Community Center for Academic Excellence (IC CAE). Her involvement in IC CAE sparked an interest in national security and ultimately led her down that educational and career path. She decided to pursue this interest further with the Political Science and Government MA program.  

While in graduate school, Reynolds gained experience as a graduate teaching assistant and as an intern with the Department of Defense.  

“I’ve really been able to take what I learned in my MA program and apply it to a professional career,” shared Reynolds. She added, “I had a very interdisciplinary education, and I feel that is very valuable in the workplace to have skills in different areas.” 

Alanna Reynolds standing behind gold balloons

Overcoming Adversity 

Reynolds’ path to success wasn’t an easy one. Securing a spot in the male-dominated and competitive intelligence field is difficult, according to Reynolds. While pursuing her MA, she dealt with burn-out as a result of the high pressure that she placed on herself. She later discovered the importance of seeking help, speaking up and developing a better work-life balance. “It’s okay to tell people that you’re having a tough time,” she shared.  

A Look at Reynolds’ Job at Lockheed Martin 

Alanna Reynolds standing with Knightro and husband Darren Reynolds

The best part of her job is being able to do very meaningful work that makes an impact. “National security is incredibly important, and I work with an amazing team,” said Reynolds. Her work ensures that Lockheed Martin and its employees are protected from threats. “One of my favorite parts of my job is being able to educate employees on security,” she explained.   

Additionally, between her Ph.D. studies and full-time work at Lockheed Martin, Reynolds still finds time to mentor UCF students and visit campus for guest lectures. She is passionate about supporting the next generation of intelligence professionals. 

Advice for Political Science Graduate Students 

“Grad school can be a very high-pressure environment and can be very competitive,” shared Reynolds. The best piece of advice Reynolds can give is to ask for help when you need it. There are professors and counseling services there to help you. Another important thing that she learned along the way is that rejection is normal and expected.  

Regardless of rejection, she encourages students to not give up and keep applying. After all, it’s what she said led her to where she is today.  

Learn more about the School of Politics, Security, and International Affairs!   

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