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Team Member

Olivia Wynne Houck

Research Fellow

Olivia Wynne Houck is a sixth-year doctoral candidate in the History, Theory and Criticism of Architecture program at MIT, where she studies the intersection of the built environment, diplomacy, and geopolitics during the Cold War. She is particularly interested in NATO, U.S. and Nordic foreign policies, technology and infrastructure in the North American and European Arctic regions. She also explores how a historical focus on the built environment can be used to contribute to current policy analysis, especially with regards to national security. She is currently a member of the International Policy Scholars Consortium and Network, an initiative of the Henry Kissinger Center for Global Affairs at Johns Hopkins University, and is a former fellow with the Cold War Archives Research Institute at the Wilson Center. During the 2021-2022 academic year, she held a National Science Foundation-Fulbright Arctic Research Award. 

Her current policy research is interested in how the Arctic is being ‘militarized’ and she hopes to advocate for how these processes can become more equitable through the inclusion of local stakeholders – as a means to mitigate negative impacts and to build more sustainable communities. She has explored these issues through participation in various Arctic-related conferences and seminars at the Fridtjof Nansen Institute; the East-West Center at the University of Hawaii at Manoa; the University of Durham,  the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies; the Arctic Winter College, and the University of Lapland.  

In 2021 she held a Visiting Fellowship with the Arctic Institute where she edited a series of articles on infrastructure in the Arctic. She has also completed internships at the Polar Institute at the Wilson Center, the US Mission to UNESCO, and the United Nations University, Gender Equality Studies program at the University of Iceland. She holds a B.A. in Art History from the College of William and Mary, a M.A. in Architectural History from the University of Virginia, and a Postgraduate Diploma in ‘Small States Studies’ from the University of Iceland.