Home News Stories 2012 August Celebrating Women Special Agents, Part 3 In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words

In Their Words

Below are select quotes from the women agents interviewed by the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI. To read the interviews, search for the women agents under “FBI oral histories” on http://nleomf1.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com/.


Women Agents Interviewed

The following women agents were interviewed through the oral histories project.

- Gabrielle Burger (1982-2006)

- Tanya DeGenova (1974-1999)

- Linda Dunn (1973-1976)

- Donna L. DuHadway (1974-1998)

- Linda Dunn (1973-1976)

- Nancy Fisher (1978-2004)

- Natalie S. Gore (1976-1986)

- Yvonne T. Graham (1978-2001)

- Christine M. Jung (1973-1995)

- Catherine M. Kiser (1978-2002)

- Mary Lou Lowry (1972-1982)

- Kathleen L. McChesney (1978-2002)

- Winnie D. Miller (1980-2005)

- Robin L. Montgomery (1971-1997)

- Burdena G. “Birdie” Pasenelli (1973-1999)

- Martha Ann Pittard (1964-1997)

- Kathleen M. Puckett, Ph.D. (1978-2001)

- Phyllis M. Sciacca (1974-2003)

- Julianne Oliver Slifco (1980-2004)

- Beverly S. Wright (1980-2002)

- Betsy York (1981-2004)


Tanya DeGenova on her career as an agent:

“Overall, I think it was a wonderful experience and I would recommend it for anyone. …There may have been some problems, but when I talk to people in the private industry or other U.S. government agencies, I think maybe the Bureau was ahead of them.”

Natalie S. Gore on new agent training:

“Going to Quantico…was probably one of the best things I ever did in my entire life because you test yourself in ways that you would never have to in regular society as a woman. You find out that you can do amazing things, physically. And as a result of that, my self-confidence soared…It just really freed me up to meet the world head on…”

Catherine Kiser on the support she received from her male colleagues:

“When I got engaged in 1982…the guys in my office gave me a bridal shower. They also gave me a baby shower. So I had a very good relationship with the guys that I worked with. …it was truly my Bureau family.”

Betsy York on how a particularly difficult plane crash investigation changed her viewpoint as an agent:

“In the process of working that case, I learned to value life in a whole different way…I became a person focused more on service. …It wasn’t any more about me or my career. It was more about what you could do to help. Because it was such a position of honor and integrity.”

Burdena “Birdie” Pasenelli on being named special agent in charge of the Anchorage field office, the first woman to rise to that position:

“That…was my first opportunity to really be a true leader. I will never forget it. All of a sudden the buck stopped at your desk.”

Kathleen McChesney, the first woman executive assistant director, reflecting on her time in the FBI:

“I had…such an incredible career… the cases that I worked, the places that I visited, the people that I met. Nobody could have had a more exciting or rewarding time.”