Illinois Tech Information Technology and Management Co-Sponsors Women in Cyber Security Conference


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Information Technology and Management (ITM) recently co-hosted the national Women in CyberSecurity (WiCyS) Conference that included more than 1,150 women. WiCyS is an annual gathering of women in cybersecurity for engagement, encouragement and peer support and includes cyber security experts in industry, education and government along with college and high school students. This includes representatives from Facebook, Fidelity Investments, Cisco Systems, Aetna, Bank of America, Carnegie Mellon University, CIA, Google, IBM, Intel, Palo Alto Networks, PwC, Raytheon, Rochester Institute of Technology, Symantec and many others.

Industry Professor Ray Trygstad, Associate Director, Center for Cyber Security and Forensics Education, stated “we were excited to co-sponsor this highly visible national cybersecurity conference that has been partially underwritten by the National Science Foundation (NSF). This was the biggest WiCyS conference ever, and it shows that there is a huge demand for cybersecurity experts. The demand for additional cybersecurity experts has lead Illinois Tech to offer new Bachelor of Science in Applied Cybersecurity and Information Technology and a Master of Science in Applied Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics. Both programs will be available fall of 2018 in addition to the currently offered the professional Master of Cyber Forensics and Security.”

C. Robert Carlson, Ph.D., Dean, School of Applied Technology commented “the WiCyS conference was an outstanding event that brought together experts from business, academics and government with a common interest in cyber security. The conference provided an opportunity for our students to interact with leaders in the field. I would especially like to thank our ITM department for all their hard work to make this conference the biggest and best in its 5 year history. Contributors included: Ray Trygstad (Co-chair WiCyS), ITM staff Amber Chatellier and Angie Jarka (WiCyS logistics and local arrangements), and Ryan Nelson; and School of Applied Technology staff, Louis McHugh, Scott Pfeiffer and Ian Hernandez; and student volunteers. Everyone did a fantastic job increasing the visibility of Illinois Tech.”

Picture caption - ITM Professor Ray Trygstad welcomes 1,150 Women in Cyber Security (WiCyS) conference attendees

WiCyS continues to innovatively expand its mission to bring together women in cybersecurity from academia, research and industry. This event is exclusively designed as the forum for speakers and guests to exchange knowledge, experience, networking, and mentoring to raise interest in the fascinating and escalating field of cybersecurity. The conference included keynote presentations, workshops, poster competitions, mentoring sessions and a career fair. More than 70 organizations who are sponsoring partners of WiCyS 2018 will be participating in the Job Fair this year.

Since 2013, with support from various industry, government and academic partners, WiCyS has become a continuing effort to recruit, retain and advance women in cybersecurity. One of early supporters of WiCyS has been Facebook. “We are focused on making Facebook a secure place for the 2 billion people on our service and in order to do this we have invested heavily in security education programs because we believe we all have to work on creating an environment that is open and welcoming to different people, with different backgrounds, and different thoughts”, says Stephanie Siteman, Info Security Program & Operations Manager at Facebook.

Speakers for this year’s event included:
· Mona Bates - Vice President and Chief Information Officer Integrated Defense Systems, Raytheon
· Aanchal Gupta - Director of Security, Facebook
· Diane M. Janosek - Deputy Commandant for the National Cryptologic School, NSA
· Dr. Susan Landau - Professor, Tufts University
· Dr. Margaret Layton - Director of Engineering, Cyber Security Services, Symantec
· Dr. Celeste Matarazzo - Data Scientist Expert, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
· Quiessence Phillips - Deputy Chief Information Security Officer Threat Management NYC Cyber Command
· Dr. Eman El-Sheikh - Director, Center for Cybersecurity, University of West Florida
· Yabing Wang - VP, Chief Security Architect, Alight Solutions

About Women in CyberSecurity (WiCyS)

WiCyS was launched in 2013 by Dr. Ambareen Siraj, Professor Computer Science, Tennessee Tech University, as a collaborative project between Tennessee Tech, University of Memphis and Jackson State Community College. “I wanted to create an opportunity for women to learn from and share experiences with other women in the field of cybersecurity and be motivated to seek opportunities and resources within” shares Dr. Siraj. The annual WiCyS conference is organized by the Cybersecurity Education, Research and Outreach Center at Tennessee Tech in partnership with a regional university. This year’s local host for the conference was Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). “We were delighted to have the opportunity to support the cybersecurity community and even more so, the women who are a part of it.” says Professor Ray Trygstad of Illinois Tech, “With an enormous shortfall of qualified cybersecurity professionals and with women comprising only ten percent of those in the field, bringing more women into cybersecurity is the single most obvious way to meet this growing need.”

The WiCyS initiative was launched in 2013 by Tennessee Tech with support from a National Science Foundation grant (Award #1303441). Moving forward, the conference and other related activities in broadening participation of Women in CyberSecurity will be led by the newly established WiCyS non-profit organization. For more information, please visit the website:

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