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Alumni Accomplishments

Jeanette Hanna-Ruiz
Washington, D.C.
Current Position:
senior advisor, deparment of homeland security -- national security agency joint cyber coordination group

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Alumni Profiles

On the Frontlines of Homeland Security
Jeanette Hanna-Ruiz, JD’04

In this post-9/11 world, Jeanette Hanna-Ruiz is a major player. As senior advisor to the Department of Homeland Security -- National Security Agency Joint Cyber Coordination Group, she is responsible for numerous issues involving national security, risk management, identity management, and cybersecurity. On a daily basis, she and her team keep U.S. bridges and dams safe, collect fingerprints of foreign visitors, and manage the computer emergency readiness team.

To say it’s a big job would be an understatement, but Hanna-Ruiz is up to the challenge. “The mission of the Department of Homeland Security is to protect the homeland, and everyone works every day to ensure that. This is a lot easier said than done,” she says. Thankfully, her Law School connections always come through. “I can pick up the phone and ask for advice from my former professors—there’s a level of personal attention at Indiana Law that has never failed me,” she says.

Why Indiana Law?: “I’m from Cleveland, and I did my undergraduate work at Oberlin College. Being from the Midwest, I wanted to go to school in the Midwest. Also, IU has an excellent reputation and several of the professors and their areas of research and expertise interested me.”

Why I love my job: “I’m using my legal education while working with people who are committed to securing the homeland and working to prevent or mitigate man-made or natural threats. I enjoy working on a lot of novel issues, especially in cybersecurity. Dealing with terrorism-related issues as they relate to the law will be invaluable experience.”

Not an attorney—yet: “I’m still planning on taking the bar. I haven’t had chance to do that yet because I work every day. We do have a whole cadre of lawyers who work for us dealing with legal issues ranging from privacy to personnel. I did take Internet law, thank God! The education and experience I got through IU are tremendous assets.”

Law school highlight: “The caliber of people who taught me. They definitely asked me the right questions and had me think in useful and productive ways when confronted with legal questions in the workplace.”