Military, CIA officers to share experiences as women in male-dominated fields

Marine Corps Maj. Paige Kennedy, former CIA case officer Shannon McCombie to visit Penn State for 'Today's Women Warriors' on Oct. 30

Former CIA case officer Shannon McCombie will visit Penn State for “Today’s Women Warriors,” to be held Oct. 30 at the HUB-Robeson Center’s Flex Theatre.  Credit: Courtesy Shannon McCombieAll Rights Reserved.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A Marine Corps major and a former CIA case officer will headline a seminar and Q&A session at Penn State to discuss their experiences as women who have helped pave the way in historically male-dominated fields.

Maj. Paige Kennedy and Shannon McCombie will visit University Park for “Today’s Women Warriors,” to be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 30, at the HUB-Robeson Center’s Flex Theatre. The event is free and open to the public.   

Marine Corps Maj. Paige Kennedy will visit Penn State for “Today’s Women Warriors,” to be held Oct. 30 at the HUB-Robeson Center’s Flex Theatre. Credit: Courtesy Paige KennedyAll Rights Reserved.

McCombie says it took time for her to integrate into new, mostly male teams, but she was able to overcome those challenges and earn the respect of her male peers in the process.

“Balancing femininity with capability and maintaining personal dignity and mutual respect allowed me to overcome obstacles and permitted success,” she said.

McCombie is a training and engagement specialist for the McChrystal Group Leadership Institute and has worked in the public and private sectors, including for the CIA and Naval Special Warfare Development Group. She received her bachelor’s degree in international politics with minors in French and international studies from Penn State, and is currently pursuing a master's degree from Penn State World Campus. 

A helicopter pilot in the Marine Corps, Kennedy graduated from Penn State in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in photography. At Penn State, she was a member of ROTC and, when she graduated, was commissioned as an officer in the Marine Corps before being deployed to Iraq. 

“Today’s Women Warriors” is part of a series of Penn State military appreciation events honoring military service members, veterans and their families. Penn State Military Appreciation Week kicks off Oct. 27 with the Penn State football game against Iowa, which will celebrate 100 years of women in the U.S. armed forces, and concludes Nov. 12 — the day after Veterans Day.

Visit the Penn State military appreciation website for more information on the University’s longstanding and proud tradition of serving the men and women of the military through education benefits, resources, support and more.

Last Updated July 12, 2021