04 Mar Women In Cybersecurity: Breaking The Stereotype of Nerds In Glasses
Clearing the Path for Girls in STEM
– Steven T. Kroll
Northport, N.Y. – Feb. 14, 2019
Young girls need to look at experienced women in order to see themselves in cyber.
Nada Anid, Ph.D., has broken barriers all her life. She was the first woman to hold a master’s degree in chemical engineering in Lebanon, where she grew up, and the first female dean of the School of Engineering and Computing Sciences at the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT). Now, as vice president of Strategic Communications and External Affairs at NYIT, Anid pays it forward by providing opportunities for young women to enter STEM fields and, more specifically, cybersecurity, through mentoring, building networks and creating groundbreaking initiatives at the college.
Cybersecurity Ventures predicts a labor shortage of 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs by 2021 — enough to fill 50 NFL stadiums.
“We’re seeing that cybersecurity is now mushrooming across the nation and North America because there is such a high demand. We’re not keeping up with that demand,” says Anid, so she’s pushing for women and young girls to fill that gap.
In Anid’s view, there’s not enough cultural awareness for women entering STEM fields. Young girls see the stereotypical male nerds in glasses who hold the keys to cybersecurity and think the field isn’t for them. “We need to break that,” says Anid. Her message to these young girls is “look at me. I’ve done it. You can also do it.”
Anid puts this message into action through a variety of initiatives at NYIT.
“We’re creating a Women’s Corporate Council. Through that, we’re going to start mentoring our own NYIT community — staff, faculty and students — by bringing in leaders in business, in tech, in IT, in the media to NYIT,” says Anid. NYIT is hosting the Girl Scouts for a day to teach coding and other hands-on activities to make them comfortable with STEM. And she personally mentors two high school girls.
Cybersecurity Ventures and NYIT are at the forefront of creating awareness for the cybersecurity industry not only for young girls but also on a global scale. The industry needs collaboration like this, if it’s going to fill the employment gap in the coming years.
“There is a job in the area of cyber for everyone,” says Anid, “and a contribution for everyone.”
– Steven T. Kroll is a public relations specialist and staff writer at Cybercrime Magazine.