Henderson sees the MPP program as an opportunity to pivot her corporate experience towards a career in the public sector.
Headshot of Annie Henderson
Annie Henderson

Annie Henderson’s passion to use policy to provide data-driven solutions to security issues stems from her partner’s experience serving in the military. “My partner was deployed to Afghanistan as a medevac pilot during the pandemic. It gave me a clear view of how good intelligence can save lives. I think there are a lot of opportunities for governments to create programs that will make communities safer—to help create better national security using open-source data.”

After completing her bachelor’s in biology at Cornell University, Henderson began working at Netbase Quid, Inc, a Silicon Valley start-up that develops SaaS data analytics platforms for enterprise strategy. Explaining her shift from biology to technology, Henderson said, “While I liked the systems thinking in biology, I knew I wasn’t interested in medicine. I ended up in technology because I loved the systems-thinking of the discipline.” She quickly rose to the position of Senior Manager for the Innovative Strategy team. “I love that the company used open-source data at scale to educate and inform companies on making better business decisions. “Data is the new oil, and open-source data is the new channel through which a lot of companies are operating.”

The pandemic, however, served as a reflection point for Henderson. “I think the pandemic helped me put my goals in perspective. All the people around me have given back in some way. My partner is in the military. My mother was a teacher, and my father was a NASA engineer. Seeing what all of them have done encourages me to want to give back to people in some way.” Henderson sees the Master of Public Policy program as an opportunity to pivot her corporate experience towards a career in the public sector. “I think having a corporate perspective will be a valuable asset in creating more effective policy. Corporations are a stakeholder at the table, so it’s important for policymakers in the technology industry to be able to communicate with and understand both government and corporate stakeholders at the policy table.

Henderson said there were two primary reasons for her choosing Harris. “First, the academics. I’m eager to bolster my programming skills and gain a formal education in economics. Plus, courses like Addressing Technology’s Wake and Behavioral Science and Public Policy speak to my interest in technology.

“Second, the network. Harris has a good approach to encouraging a diversity of ideas. I believe that building a network of good, smart people who know different things than I do is really important.”

Henderson is also looking forward to learning from Professor Ethan Bueno de Mesquita because of his work on game theory and counterterrorism and to pursuing the Certificate in Data Analytics. “I appreciate that Harris offers certificates in highly marketable skills that I can leverage in my career. I view everything as an investment. Before I make any investment, whether it’s financial, social, or educational, I evaluate whether it will help unlock my goals. I think Harris will definitely do that as I make this career transition.”