Top Gun fired up a generation of children to want to fly fighter jets, including Marisa Porges who made it far than most of those dreamers.
The author of What Girls Need: How to Raise Bold, Courageous, and Resilient Women started her career as a naval flight officer and eventually became a leading counterterrorism and national security expert in the Obama White House.
Porges, now the head of The Baldwin School, a 130-year-old all-girls school outside of Philadelphia, talks about the importance of fathers — including her own — encouraging their daughters to pursue their dreams and how we can all help girls become strong and capable adults on the latest Modern Dads Podcast.
Porges talks about the myths of how girls are more talkative than boys, the importance of teaching them to speak up for themselves and learning to persuade others, and other ideas about how the playing field can be leveled with men.
What Girls Needs “delves into hot-button subjects like how to harness girls’ voices and boost girls’ self-esteem, and shows how little things have a big impact when nurturing vital skills like competitiveness, collaboration, empathy, and adaptability,” according to the author’s website.
Before going full-time into the education field, Porges was a leading counterterrorism and national security expert. She served as a senior policy advisor under President Obama and as White House Fellow at the National Economic Council, where she oversaw the development of domestic cybersecurity and consumer protection policies. She also has served as a research fellow at Harvard Kennedy School and at the Council on Foreign Relations, where her research focused on counterterrorism. In these roles, she traveled throughout the Middle East and Afghanistan to conduct research, interview former members of Al Qaeda and the Taliban, meet with Syrian rebel fighters in hiding, and serve as an embedded civilian advisor at NATO military headquarters in Afghanistan. She also worked as a counterterrorism policy advisor in the U.S. Department of Treasury and as a foreign affairs advisor in the U.S. Department of Defense. In all these roles, she stood out as one of a few – if not the only – women present, at any given time.
Porges started her military as a navel fight officer, flying jets off carriers. Ten years after the Navy first allowed women to fly jets into combat, she pursued her childhood dream of being launched off an aircraft carrier while serving her country. She earned a degree in geophysics from Harvard, an master’s from the London School of Economics, and a doctorate in war studies from King’s College London. Her awards include the National Committee on American Foreign Policy 21st Century Leader Award and the NATO Medal for service in Afghanistan.