Information security involves solving complex problems, incorporating diverse perspectives to address the technical, legal, social, and behavioral dimensions of the digital era. Christina Pomianek-Smith’s recent move into information security demonstrates the multidisciplinary demands of the field. She is a cultural anthropologist by training (PhD, University of Missouri—Columbia, 2012), with research interests in trust, cooperation, and commons management. Her background is a natural fit; our data and systems are shared resources, and their survival depends on our ability to foster a culture of mutual responsibility for security. She predicts that the importance of cultural and behavioral aspects of information security will become increasingly apparent to everyone, with human knowledge as the most flexible means of adapting to the rapidly evolving threat landscape.
Christina comes to us with years of experience in teaching, research, advising, and work on an Institutional Review Board. She served on the Research Policy Advisory Committee and the Research Ethics Pedagogy faculty group at her previous institution. At WashU, she is responsible for revising our information security policies to meet the recommendations of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF) while also making them easier to navigate and understand for the WashU audience. She also develops information security resources for researchers , refreshes and builds website content for the OIS, and contributes to the newsletter on behalf of the GRC team.
In her free time, Christina loves to cook, write poems and letters, watch birds, identify wild plants, stargaze, and walk in the woods with her husband and their two very good dogs—a Border Collie and Blue Heeler. She says she can’t live without an intellectual challenge to chew on, and information security makes excellent brain food.