Describe your life prior to coming to the CIA.
I was born in the hospital at the United States Military
Academy at West Point, NY, the daughter of a career military officer. I
attended college at West Point, where I
met my husband, Kyle Missbach. We joke that we “honeymooned in Iraq,” as we
were both deployed just a few short weeks after we got married. We spent those
11 months apart as I was stationed at
Victory Base in Baghdad as a node center
platoon leader and Kyle was a Dragoon commander engaged in direct combat. We
both returned to Fort Hood, TX. Our
second tour in Iraq began in October
2006. This time, both Kyle and I were stationed together and we spent 15 months there at Camp Taji.
What motivated you to attend the CIA?
Being a military officer and serving in Iraq was a great experience that I will always cherish.
However, after 27 months of deployment, we decided it was time to start a
family and pursue our civilian interests.
I had always wanted
to be a chef but it wasn’t until
Kyle brought home a copy of Cook’s
Illustrated, which I devoured, that I shared my dream with him. He encouraged
me to go back to school while he supported us. Kyle found employment in
Danbury, CT, while I went to work at a
local restaurant to fulfill my entrance requirements. In June of 2009, Eleanor,
our first child, was born. I began to commute to classes at the CIA in February
What has been the best part of being at the CIA?
I felt at home in the Army
and I feel at home at the CIA. I am continually amazed at the CIA’s diverse student
body and the incredible chefs and instructors who share their love of food with us.
Every time I finish a class I tell
myself that was the “best course ever,”
only to find out that the next class is even better! I love volunteering at the
tutoring center, whereI assist studentsin B and L blocks with culinary math,
product knowledge, menu development, and
nutrition course work.
What are your plans for the future?
Kyle has accepted a
position as a diplomat with the State
Department in Mexico City, Mexico. I’ll be graduating in December 2011, delivering our second child in January 2012,
and moving to Mexico City in April! As a mom and an “accompanying spouse,” my goal
will be to balance family life, professional aspirations, and the embassy’s
mission, within the political and cultural climate of each country in which
we live. I see myself involved in
“culinary diplomacy”—engaging people though the common ground
of food. I can connect people in a less formal way through
the pleasures of the table.
How has your scholarship helped you?
Going back to school
and commuting 100 miles every day meant that we wentfrom two incomes to one, with a lot of additional expenses.
Receiving tuition support meant I could spend time with my infant daughter and
my husband. That time with my family was a gift for which I will always be