Topic 1 Article By Daniel Alejandro Mejia

Posted By: Andrea Bennett CITE News, Community,
Daniel Alejandro Mejia

Daniel Alejandro Mejia

3rd Prize Winner: $100

ABF Excellence Award, 2021 ($2,000 + Laptop), Cajon High School, San Bernardino Unified School District

Currently enrolled with California State University San Bernardino: Bachelor's in Science

How Does The Young Women Cybersecurity Scholarship Program Bt ABF Benefit Young Women In Cybersecurity?

Who makes up most of the current Cybersecurity workforce? Men. Now having said that, there are many young women who have an interest in Cybersecurity but don't know where to start. Often times females are criticized if they show interest in this field, or simply get little to no support. Having a Scholarship for solely these young women would cause an increase of women in Cybersecurity.

From a study by ISC2, Women comprise only 25% of the cybersecurity workforce, Are they just not interested or are there barriers we need to get rid of? The Cybersecurity guide in August of 2021 has reported that “Cybersecurity is often viewed by young women as a career requiring females to be much more accomplished than men in order to get equal treatment. Even some girls have already come to the conclusion that technical careers are best suited to boys. In fact, current data suggests this is often painfully true.”, but the Aaron Barnett Foundation is based on encouraging young students to pursue any sort of education in the Cybersecurity field, we should be able to target a certain demographic that has been shown to be controlled by a stigma that they need to outperform the men to even be seen as equals. In actuality, according to College Board the young women who feel like they are less than the men in the field or even feel like it's a man's job, are the same women who are outperforming the men in math and science. So it may not truly be that they feel like mentally they aren't capable of being cybersecurity but feel like they aren't welcomed. A scholarship such as the Aaron Barnett Foundation scholarship can be utilized to spread what cybersecurity really is and how it isn't a single type of job but is comprised of many jobs that can appeal to different interests. 

In 2021 alone there were over 3.2 million cybersecurity jobs that were left vacant. These jobs can be filled if there was a bit more exposure to the cybersecurity field to those who don't fully understand the field. A scholarship alone would encourage students to pursue a career in the cybersecurity field. Whether the scholarship is as much as tuition for a semester to even $100, any form of scholarship is enough encouragement for young students to follow their cybersecurity interest and not feel overwhelmed by such obstacles and not having the money required or feeling as if they wouldn't make it. The scholarship can be used as a form of showing the support we have for those who need that little push to work towards a career in cybersecurity. 

All in all, we have the power to encourage young women who have an interest in cybersecurity that was told it isn't a career option they can pursue. But it is something they can achieve. We can help them get there and go beyond that by creating a more diverse environment for those interested in pursuing this career path.