STEM for Girls. PHOTO: Cybercrime Magazine.

Calling All Girls: Cybersecurity And Pancakes

STEM can be a lot of fun!

Amanda Glassner

Northport, N.Y. – Feb. 25, 2021

If Disney had a cybercrime fighter, it would be @Hacks4Pancakes. She’s a whimsical but super serious hacker and math whiz who learned to program at the mere age of 8.

Lesley Carhart is a shining example of what an early interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) can lead to, and why we should encourage our daughters to explore the exciting field of cybersecurity.

Carhart had her first programming gig at 15, which resulted in a lifelong fascination with computer forensics. Today, she’s a 20-year veteran in the highly specialized industrial cybersecurity market.

Championing the fight against cybercriminals who target our nation’s power grids and water utilities, Carhart is among the 20 percent of women who make up the global cybersecurity workforce, which is up from 10 percent in 2013. 

Society has come a long way from the man’s world that James Brown sang about in 1964: “This is a man’s world, this is a man’s world. But it wouldn’t be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl.”

Cybersecurity has some catching up to do.

“I’m definitely an advocate,” said Carhart in an interview for Cybercrime Magazine’s podcast. “There are very clear reasons, other than just equality, that diversity is really important to technology and cybersecurity; you just don’t get as many perspectives without it.”

Cybercrime Radio: She Hacks For Pancakes

What do you hack for?

Cybercrime Radio

Carhart is featured in the book “Women Know Cyber: 100 Fascinating Females Fighting Cybercrime.” Embodying true girl power, it’s the perfect gift to inspire teenagers. Young girls with an early interest in math and STEM can move mountains, and ultimately take down hackers. (free PDF version of the book)

The key to future success? A niche.

“We all like different things in terms of analytics, in terms of risk tolerance, in terms of our ability to sit there and stare at great quantities of data for hours on end, or our desire to interact with people constantly,” Carhart advised, speaking to the influence of personality on profession.

This is why our daughters need to think about their futures at an early age. It’s important to let them lead, but a nudge in the right direction can’t hurt. With 3.5 million unfilled jobs, cybersecurity desperately needs the next generation.

Pancakes with Lesley

Come for fun, but stay to learn. Spearheaded by Carhart, PancakesCon 2 features a unique schedule of half-information security, half-anything else talks on hobbies, fitness, cooking, music and more. Listeners can virtually tune in on Sunday, March 21, 2021. Follow or @PancakesCon on Twitter for updates.

To hear more about Carhart’s career and a funny story about how she once built a computer from spare parts in a Canadian mine, listen to the full podcast episode here.

– Amanda Glassner is a staff writer and reporter at Cybercrime Magazine.

Go here to read all of my blogs and articles covering cybersecurity. Go here to send me story tips, feedback and suggestions.