Denise Burnham is the Deputy Director of the U.S. Air Force National Media Outreach in New York City.
Suggested questions for discussing the articles in Denise’s Text Set:
- Regarding women in combat, do you think someone should be able to tell you what you can and can't do?
- Should someone be able to set boundaries for you?
- Do you think the military should offer more sabbatical style programs to help retain women in the military?
- What ideas do you have to retain women service members?
- How can our nation's leaders understand the unique needs of serving one's country and balancing a family?
How do the articles you selected reflect your perspective on women's history?
I saw a lot of advancements in the military from when I first joined in the 1990s. When I finished my final days on active duty with the Air Force, gays could openly serve once "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was repealed. It's wonderful that the military now allows all men and women to serve proudly. I never thought that would happen in my time in uniform. Women have also been allowed into most combat fields now, and most recently the first female Army Rangers have graduated from Ranger school.
What has led you to do the work you do today?
I served on active duty with the Air Force for 20 years. Then I moved to the private sector for few years. Recently I accepted a position as the Public Affairs Deputy Director of U.S. Air Force National Media Outreach here in NYC. This job allows me to discuss my true passion - the United States Air Force - and to work with national media outlets to see where there might be a fit to share the stories of our incredible 660,000 Air Force people. I pinch myself every day that I can talk about Air Force people and promote the mission of the Air Force in the city I love so dearly (NYC)! Pinch me someone!!!
Women who inspire Denise:
When I was a young Airman, I really looked up to Secretary Madeleine Albright. She is still exceptional.
I also had the distinct pleasure of meeting National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice when she was in the Bush administration. She then moved on to Secretary of State position. She was absolutely humble and wonderful. I think I still have a #girlcrush on her to this day. I was thrilled to meet her. It was a big moment for me as a young officer.
Books that have influenced how Denise thinks about women's history:
- Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg (a recent favorite)
- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith