Utah’s First Women in Cybersecurity Professional Program

Published: February 16, 2021 | Category: Academics

Utah comes together to establish WiCyS Utah Professional AffiliateLeaders at organizations around Utah including Southern Utah University, Nu Skin Enterprises, HealthEquity, 3M, and Progressive Leasing, launched Utah’s Professional Affiliate of Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS), a national nonprofit organization aimed at building a stronger gender-diverse cybersecurity workforce throughout the world. 

WiCyS is a premier organization with an international reach dedicated to bringing together women in cybersecurity from academia, research, and industry to share knowledge, experience, networking and mentoring. Established in 2012 by Dr. Ambareen Siraj of Tennessee Tech University through a National Science Foundation grant, WiCyS is a nonprofit organization offering many membership, sponsorship and collaboration benefits. 

"I am honored to serve in the WiCyS Utah Affiliate with leaders who are not only great advocates, but role models, and who are passionate about increasing the number of women in the cybersecurity field," said Dr. Shalini Kesar, affiliate president and co-founding member and associate professor of information systems at SUU. "According to Cybersecurity Ventures, there will be up to 3.5 million job openings by 2021. Meanwhile, women make up only 20% of the cybersecurity workforce, only slightly up from a mere 11% in 2013. As affiliate leaders, we aspire to make WiCyS Utah a platform for opportunities of networking, professional development, and much more to create a strong cybersecurity community here in Utah."

WiCyS Utah is an affiliate that embodies these same commitments with a focus on catering to the needs of women in Utah. It will do this through undertaking activities to provide community, mentoring, networking, while promoting recruitment, retention and advancement of women in cybersecurity.

Founding Affiliate Board Members include Dr. Shalini Kesar, President (Southern Utah University); Kristina Belnap, Vice President (Health Equity); Gabrielle Harris, Treasurer (Nu Skin Enterprises); Mark Milne, Secretary/ Student Relations/ Membership & Recruitment Chair ; (Nu Skin Enterprises); Sherrie Cowley, Social Media/ Marketing Chair (3M HIS); and Jami Hughes, Events Chair (Progressive Leasing).

The leadership of WiCyS Utah feels that expanding and accelerating the diversity, equity, and inclusion within the field of cybersecurity is a top priority. Through the efforts of its members and allies, WiCyS Utah intends to confront challenges head on, promote awareness, and create true community. With the enthusiastic support of allies, community members, and the WiCyS organization, affiliate leadership is optimistic of what they will accomplish throughout Utah.

"The WiCyS organization is thrilled with the growth and expansion of the affiliate program in Utah,” said Lynn Dohm, WiCyS Executive Director. “It’s through the strength and commitment of these dedicated leaders that are driving the inclusion and diversity efforts in the cybersecurity workforce. We are excited about the upcoming WiCyS Utah events and looking forward to the opportunities that lie ahead for women in cybersecurity because of them.”

For those interested in learning more, the Women in Cybersecurity (WICyS) Utah Affiliate will hold a Meet & Greet on Wednesday, February 17 from 5:00-6:00 p.m. MST. Register for the webinar at https://lnkd.in/ggNEZww


About WiCyS

Women in CyberSecurity (WiCyS) is the premier nonprofit organization with international reach dedicated to bringing together women in cybersecurity. Founded by Dr. Ambareen Siraj from Tennessee Tech University through a National Science Foundation grant in 2012, WiCyS offers opportunities and resources for its members and collaboration benefits for its sponsors and partners. The organization’s founding partners are Cisco, Facebook and Palo Alto Networks. WiCyS’ strategic partners include Amazon Web Services, Bloomberg, Cisco, Facebook, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Flatiron, Google, HERE Technologies, IBM, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, Nike, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Optum, Palo Alto Networks, SANS Institute, SAP, SentinelOne, SpearTip, Starbucks, Target, University of California San Diego, Verizon, and Workday. To partner with WiCyS, visit www.wicys.org/support/strategic-partnerships.


Tags: College of Engineering and Computational Sciences Cyber Security

Contact Information:

David Bishop
435-586-5400
davidbishop@suu.edu