In October, as the country recognized National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Aggie family celebrated the life and mourned the death of a brave patriot. Andrea Pool ’94 ’98 ’05, a CIA collections management officer, was a breast cancer fighter who at the age of 37 died of the disease.
Although cancer is what took Andrea’s life on Sept. 20, 2009, her family and friends refuse to let the disease also claim the definition of her life. “Breast cancer is what she had, not who she was,” said her husband, Scott Pool ’93 ’02.
Instead, Pool’s family characterizes her life through her love of the written word, the color pink, the Backstreet Boys, Disney movies and fictional spies such as James Bond and Alias’ Sydney Bristow who, in part, inspired a career change from journalist to CIA operative.
Andrea loved her career as a communicator at Texas A&M, but the events of Sept. 11, 2001, changed her forever. “As a journalist, I could document what happens in the world. What I’m discovering about myself is that I don’t want to just watch and report; I want to be part of the action,” Andrea wrote in an application essay to the George Bush School of Government and Public Service in 2004. “And the action that I want to take part in is the kind that stops the bad guys.”
Armed with a certificate in advanced international affairs from the Bush School, the inspiration of her beloved fictional characters, and the support of her friends and family, Andrea applied to the CIA in 2005 and was accepted in early 2006.
She served two dangerous Iraq deployments to provide intelligence support to special ops forces. A clean bill of health after a double mastectomy plus chemotherapy and radiation after her first deployment gave Andrea the green light to return to her assignment in December 2008.
Suffering from back pain, she returned home in February 2009. Scans showed stage four cancer in her spinal column, hip, femur and liver.
After Andrea’s death, Scott established the Andrea Pool National Security Fellowship through the Texas A&M Foundation to honor her passion for her work to “stop the bad guys.” Once fully funded, the fellowship will support a full-time graduate student pursuing a degree at the Bush School. Preference for the fellowship will go to students who are making a career change or who have been employed in the public sector for five or more years.
Scott hopes those who benefit from the fellowship are committed to making the United States safer. “Whether they join the CIA, are a member of the State Department or serve in the military, I want them to serve our country honorably.”
“May they, heroes all, rest in peace eternally in God’s hands and in the loving embrace of the Aggie family.” “U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (former president of Texas A&M University), Muster 2009
To learn how you can support the George Bush School of Government and Public Service, contact Jerome Rektorik ’65 with the Texas A&M Foundation at (979) 862-8847.