Thursday February 20, 2020 0 comments
AURORA -- Women in CyberSecurity (WiCyS) is hosting its seventh annual conference, March 13-14, at the Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center in Aurora.
The event supports its mission to recruit, retain, and advance women in cybersecurity.
The WiCyS conference will bring together more than 1,600 women and allies in cybersecurity from industry, academia, government, nonprofits and research to share their knowledge and expertise while networking and mentoring.
WiCyS ensures that half of conference attendees are female cybersecurity students, who earned WiCyS scholarships funded by conference sponsors and strategic partners or are sponsored by their institution to attend.
The other half represents educators and professionals from both public and private sectors.
Several cybersecurity experts will be featured at the conference, including keynotes by Gretchen Block, VP, Optum Global Technology Enterprise Risk Assessment Program; Sandra McLeod, director of Advanced Security Initiatives Group at Cisco Systems; and Sid Sidhu, lead in Production Engineering at Facebook.
Additionally, this year’s event includes more than 400 volunteers, 150 recruiters, more than 100 sponsors, 80 veterans, 20 active military attendees and 15 community collaborators.
WiCyS issued 750 student scholarships, 130 travel stipends, 67 faculty grants and 26 Veteran Fellowship Awards.
The conference will have 16 workshops, 55 technical presentations, Birds of a Feather sessions, lightning talks, panel discussions, student research poster sessions, and National Cyber League capture-the-flag game/competition.
Cybersecurity Ventures forecasted 3.5 million cybersecurity job openings by 2021, and noted women only make up 20% of the cybersecurity workforce. WiCyS said it is working diligently to increase that percentage through various initiatives in collaboration with its strategic partners.
Dr. Ambareen Siraj, from Tennessee Tech University, founded WiCyS originally as a National Science Foundation project in 2013. In 2018, it transitioned into a nonprofit organization and now has more than 6,000 members.
The mission of WiCyS remains strong because of its inclusive and energetic community. WiCyS members are the driving force in bringing the WiCyS message from a national to a local level thanks to 90 student chapters, 17 professional affiliates, and many speakers, mentors, allies and veterans in the WiCyS community.
"It's awe-inspiring to be at the WiCyS conference each year and see women connect with each other, be inspired by each other and guide each other,” said Dr. Janell Straach, WiCyS chair of the board.
“The conference is all about community because it is the community.”
High level conference sponsors include VIPs Cisco, Facebook and Optum; Premium sponsors AWS, Google, Mastercard, Raytheon, State Farm, and Verizon; and Diamond sponsors Adobe, Bank of America, Carnegie Mellon University, CEROC at Tennessee Tech, CSSIA, CyberProof, Dakota State University, DENSO, IBM, Kroll, Microsoft Security, National Cyber League, Robinhood, [email protected], RIT, Salesforce, Synopsys, VISA, and Walmart.