Where are they now? Q&A with ESET WICS Scholarship Winners

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For the past five years, ESET North America has gotten to know remarkable women who are pursuing the field of cybersecurity via our scholarship program. In our sixth year of the program, which provides $5,000 scholarships for three recipients in the United States, we are thrilled to extend the program to Canada where an additional scholarship will be warded.

Our scholarship recipients have ranged from high school seniors to graduate students, each unique and impressive in their skills and passion for security in the modern world.

Let’s see what our recipients have been up to with a fun Q&A!

Tell us, what have you been up to since receiving the scholarship? Professionally and/or personally?

Betta Lyon-Delsordo – 2018 Scholarship Recipient

Since I received the scholarship in high school, I've almost completed my degrees at the University of Montana in Computer Science and Spanish, with certificates in Cybersecurity and Global Leadership. I'm in my fifth year of mentoring girls in the Technovation Challenge coding competition, and last year, my team of girls in Spain made it to the international semifinals! I also started my own freelance web development business, and while working remotely I have been able to travel across five continents and stay with host families. This summer I'll be interning with a penetration testing firm, and I'll start applying for grad schools. I plan to apply for a CyberCorps fellowship, which provides full funding for a graduate degree in cybersecurity and a position with a state or federal agency after graduation.

 

Annabelle Klosterman – 2020 Scholarship Recipient

After receiving the scholarship, I started at Dakota State University in pursuit of a Bachelor's in Cyber Operations. I had the opportunity to join the CybHER Institute whose mission is to empower, motivate, educate, and change the perception of girls and women in cybersecurity. I worked with peers and colleagues to create activities and curriculum for our virtual NSA-sponsored GenCyber camps for both middle school and high school students. Additionally, I have been able to host multiple outreach activities to inspire and educate youth. Through the CybHER Institute, I have been able to make a positive impact on the K-12 population. Outside of the classroom, I am active within the university clubs and collegiate teams. I earned a spot on Dakota State University's Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition team where we ended up placing third in the At-Large Regionals.

 Where are you in your schooling/what are your hopes post-graduation?

Dominique West – 2019 Scholarship Recipient

Since receiving my scholarship I have graduated from my Masters in Cybersecurity program and was recently accepted into my doctorate program to pursue my PhD! Additionally, I have moved into a managerial role for a new company. I am hoping the continue my education and hone the skills necessary for my next career goal of becoming a CISO! Additionally, I plan to continue my platform, Security in Color, to continue to make cybersecurity awareness accessible to everyone. My goal is to help increase diversity in the field by providing different avenues and resources forward everyone to succeed in cyber.

 

 

Annabelle Klosterman – 2020 Scholarship Recipient

Currently, I am a sophomore pursuing a Bachelor's in Cyber Operations. I plan to graduate in the fall of 2022 and attain a Master's in Cyber Defense in the fall of 2023. After graduating, I hope to obtain a position that allows me to improve companies, better ensure the safety of our country, and mentor/impact youth. I aspire to be a leader in the cybersecurity field and empower others to have an impact on the safety of our country’s future. While I don't have a specific dream job, my goal is to be in a position that changes the way people view and handle security, for their protection and safety, and for the benefit of everyone.

 

 

 Can you share the importance of having more women in cybersecurity, in your own words?

Jessica Lam – 2020 Scholarship Recipient

I think it’s important to have diversity in any field because the people that we serve are inherently diverse in identity, background, experience, and more. Thus, we won’t be able to properly understand how to best serve them unless we have a diverse team with various backgrounds. I believe that cybersecurity in particular is a very important field to have diversity in because the field is constantly evolving. Technology keeps growing and the ways that threat actors attack us and our systems also continue to become more and more creative. Thus, it’s really important that we, as cybersecurity folks, continue to adapt and continue to learn and grow ourselves. By having a diverse team we can bring in more perspectives and learn from each other and continue to grow and thus learn to better protect our online communities.

Andrea Kim – 2019 Scholarship Recipient

In all of my last three technology roles (the last two being in cybersecurity), I have been the only woman on my team. It really does make a difference to have other women on a team. In my last two jobs there were times where I didn't feel I belonged, was valued or was welcome. It is hard to stay strong when you feel you don't fit in, and when you see and hear things that are uncomfortable for women. Also, we need various viewpoints and backgrounds in cybersecurity. Not every bad actor is a single white male. They are all around the world and from every culture. To be effective, we need all perspectives.