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Tampa, Florida -- The scandal that took down CIA director David Petraeus shook her private life. But Paula Broadwell is working to rebuild her public life with a visit to Tampa.

Broadwell is leading panels at a University of South Florida conference on the modern military.

Some of the smartest people in America are here, sharing ideas on how to win our next wars by learning lessons from twelve years of tough fighting.

Broadwell spent Wednesday morning guiding one of the discussions.

The goal of this conference is learning from the past -- from mistakes in Iraq and Afghanistan -- and moving forward to a better future.

It's fitting, then, that Broadwell is here showing she's ready to face what's next and, in her words, "put the past behind her."

10 News asked Broadwell about her decision to start taking small steps to reenter the public world.

"It's going well. I have had a wonderful sort of support community in Charlotte, North Carolina and a great group of professionals like the hosts of this conference," she said.

"And a lot of colleagues who knew what my background is and what I had accomplished and pursued, and are willing to lend a hand. And I get by with a little help from my friends."

Broadwell's name is certainly known in Tampa. Her affair with David Petraeus led him to resign as director of the CIA.

And her threatening emails to his friend -- South Tampa's Jill Kelley -- brought the spotlight of the scandal right here to the Bay area.

One former general at MacDill Air Force Base is saying privately it's a mistake for organizers to invite her to Tampa.

Their response:

"Paula Broadwell is an accomplished, knowledgeable person in her own right. And she is well networked and contributes in a variety of forums," organizer Derek Harvey said.

"We believe that she is a person in her own right. That is history. Time passes."

Broadwell said the event's location in Tampa is a coincidence.

"I'm here to contribute to the conference. If the conference is in D.C. or Seattle, it wouldn't matter. I'm here because these are former colleagues that I've worked with," she said.

"So it doesn't seem unusual to be back here, and I'm grateful for it."

This is just another small step in her return to public life. Broadwell said even she isn't sure what' next.

A USF program calledThe Citizenship Initiative put together the conference.

Grant money is paying for it -- no state tax dollars or tuition money is being spent. In fact, the speakers aren't paid at all, beyond having their travel reimbursed.

The modern warfare conference that has drawn experts to the University of South Florida from around the world wraps up Wednesday afternoon.

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