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Lovely Umayam (MANPTS ‘13 and Gard ‘n’ Wall Scholar) won first prize and was awarded $5,000 in the Innovation in Arms Control Challenge sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance. Members of the public were invited to submit innovative approaches to using commonly available technologies to support arms control policy efforts, and the competition drew more than 500 submissions.

Lovely, a student in the Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies program, developed “Bombshelltoe” (, an online education platform that examines the intersection of popular culture and nuclear issues, in order to facilitate better understanding among the general public of basic nuclear and arms control-related issues. “In the nonproliferation field I’ve noticed that we take for granted some basic knowledge, like the difference between uranium and plutonium,” said Lovely. “But the public is starting with zero knowledge, and usually they get their knowledge from movies and TV shows and so forth.” She describes the goal of Bombshelltoe as being “to foster a more meaningful conversation about arms control issues” by exploring the intersection between nuclear policy and pop culture.

“Lovely is an amazing young woman, whose is equally adept in nonproliferation and social media,” commented MIIS Professor and Director of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies William Potter. “It is to her great credit that she has found a creative way to marry the two subjects, and by so doing, help to combat ignorance and complacency about one of our greatest security challenges.”

“Students come to the Monterey Institute because they want to work at the cutting edge of disciplines like nonproliferation, or translation and interpretation, or environmental policy,” added MIIS President Sunder Ramaswamy. “Lovely is a shining example of how our students are able to hit the ground running and have an immediate impact in whichever field they choose.”

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Jason Warburg

Eva Gudbergsdottir