A Guiding Hand in Service

Sofia Martinez says she wants to help people in any capacity that she can, which is why she enrolled in the Master of Cyber Forensics and Security program at Illinois Institute of Technology.

“I’d like to make technology safer and more accessible for everyone, and I figure this will be the best way to make that happen,” Martinez says. “I feel that a career in cybersecurity will combine my passions for both computers and helping others.”

Those passions moved Martinez to join Illinois Tech’s chapter of Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS), a global nonprofit organization that works to improve diversity in the cybersecurity workforce through initiatives such as mentoring, training programs, scholarships, conferences, leadership series, and career fairs. She is a member of the WiCyS Racial Equity Committee, and serves as the local chapter’s director of equity and student success—roles that align with her mission to give back.

“The Racial Equity Committee held a workshop during the WiCyS 2021 conference on self-accountability, which generated a lot of heartfelt conversations,” Martinez says. “The committee has also worked on creating an inclusive code of conduct that reflects the mission and vision of the overall WiCyS organization.”

She also has been working as a member of the Elevate College Prep team in the Office of Undergraduate Admission with the DevUp Scholars program, an interactive three-year program that exposes high school students from Chicago’s South Side to STEM and entrepreneurship; to connect them with mentors; and to prepare them to pursue STEM majors and careers.

“Navigating my own academic career as a first-generation student has been challenging,” she says. “I’d like to make the journey into higher education easier for others if possible.”

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