GSIS seniors are allowed to choose three options for their capstone course at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Prescott campus: war games, co-op/internship, or a thesis. Allison Anderson-Cutright-Cisneros, a senior in the GSIS program, elected to do the latter. She hopes to go to a top tier graduate school one day and a strong undergraduate thesis is an ideal requisite for admission.


Interested in writing about spies, Cisneros looked through different stories and stumbled upon the Montes case, finding it the most interesting.


Ana Montes was a high-level Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) analyst. Montes spied for Cuba for more than 10 years, and was only arrested for espionage when she was up for a promotion that would have given her access to U.S. plans in the Middle East. Recruited in graduate school  simply due to her strong distaste of U.S. foreign policy, she worked to attain a high level position at the DIA. Nicknamed “The Queen of Cuba”, she was an expert on Cuba and altered intelligence reports to make them seem less threatening to the U.S. After she was caught, she was tried and sentenced to 25 years in prison.


“I found the thesis a very difficult project, but it was incredibly rewarding,” Cisneros remarked. “I was able to use what I’ve learned from my classes and research and analysis to add to the university archives.”


“I really enjoyed the new format of the thesis. The senior thesis writers met with Dr. Thomas Field at research round tables to critique and develop each others’ work,” Cisneros mentioned.


She would also like to give her appreciation to professors which helped her. “Thank you Dr. Phil Jones and Dr. Field for working with me with great patience and support,” Cisneros said. On April 26, Cisneros will present and defend her thesis to GSIS professors and the student body.


Leave a Reply