FORT MEADE, Md. – The National Security Agency (NSA) recently hosted twenty rising junior and senior women from renowned cyber and STEM colleges for Women Immersed in NSA Cybersecurity 2023 (WIN-Cyber ‘23). Participants spent a week at the Cybersecurity Collaboration Center in an immersive learning experience allowing them to collaborate with Agency cyber professionals, with the goal of empowering participants to go anywhere and do anything at NSA.
Encouraged by the success of last year’s pilot, WIN-Cyber ‘23 organizers leveraged partnerships with academic institutions to introduce future women in STEM to various cyber career opportunities at NSA. The resulting 2023 class was thus diverse in both their academic and personal backgrounds.
“The NSA WIN-Cyber ’23 experience was the highlight of my summer,” said one student. “I came back with a much stronger understanding of cybersecurity’s place at NSA and a desire to help with their mission.”
Students began the week with an opening session where they networked with NSA leadership and cyber experts, then continued with a series of briefings and tours highlighting diversity of thought and personality.
The “Featured Paths to Here” briefing series focused on each individual speaker’s unique journey to their current positions: how non-cyber skills have come to serve them well in cyber, what personally drives them, and other tidbits of wisdom for the next generation of female cyber professionals.
Experts imparted a key message for all new and prospective hires at NSA: working at the Agency can be comprised of many different careers, and no two employees have the same path, but regardless of where you go, everyone is serving the same mission.
Students visited the Integrated Cyber Center Joint Operations Center, where they were given an overview of the ever-evolving nature of cyber threats and a glimpse into the Agency’s military and civilian infrastructure.
“We wanted students to understand the value NSA places on diversity and cross-collaboration by allowing them to see both USCYBERCOM and NSA civilian/military employees working together to combat advanced nation-state attackers and high-level threats in real-time,” said Morgan Adamski, Chief of the Cybersecurity Collaboration Center.
After a week packed with tours, imparted wisdom, and fruitful collaboration, the event culminated in student presentations on their schools’ respective cyber and STEM programs and additional topics of their choice.
“My experience at WIN-Cyber ’23 provided me with a robust understanding of the cutting-edge cybersecurity work that NSA and CYBERCOM do,” one student shared after the event. “I was also able to cultivate a network of women who are passionate about the same things I am. The experience is a highlight of my college career and I cannot wait to see the WIN-Cyber network grow.”
The significance extended beyond the importance of STEM roles, as Director of Operations Natalie Laing relayed to the 20 attendees: "I want to celebrate the fact that this is happening: all of your accomplishments leading up to your participation and that it was a long time until something like this, specifically for women, was even possible.”
If you have what it takes to join NSA’s team, visit www.NSA.gov/Careers. Ready to apply? Go to www.intelligencecareers.gov/nsa.