How Booz Allen San Diego Is “Powering the Promise” of Girls in Cybersecurity

Dec 3, 2020 8:00 AM ET
Blog

“As Scouts, we have to be smart, cautious, and aware when navigating the internet…just as we need to be smart, cautious, and aware when safely navigating mountain trails.” -Booz Allen Senior Vice President Jennie Brooks

For girls today, cybersecurity information is valuable knowledge. Not only is demand growing in this still-overwhelmingly male field, educators and cyber professionals agree that cybersecurity training is essential to keep safe online, according to the National Initiative for Cyber Education.

To help girls protect themselves today—especially amidst remote learning and pivots in education caused by COVID-19—and learn about STEM careers for the future, Booz Allen recently joined 70 girls and their parents online for a series of cyber workshops. Girl Scouts of San Diego hosted the event in partnership with SynED, a national non-profit focused on Career Technology Education.

Having fun—and staying safe—online 

As a “Power Her Promise” annual sponsor, Booz Allen donated Community Impact funds to cover instructor and program fees for the workshops. Each workshop met requirements for three cyber-related badges and featured interactive training and games. 

“This year more than ever, as we meet online for work and school and even fun workshops like this, it has become clear just how important online safety is for each one of us,” said Jennie Brooks, a former Girl Scout who now leads Booz Allen’s 1,300+ person office in San Diego. 

“I sincerely hope this event will continue to build enthusiasm for the incredible opportunities in science and technology, and I hope it will arm you with the tools you need to stay safe online,” she said. 

Building a more diverse STEM pipeline

For over a decade, Booz Allen has engaged with Girl Scout councils around the U.S. and provided volunteers and mentors with a focus on introducing STEM pathways. In collaboration with Girls Scouts Nations Capital (GSNC), Booz Allen launched a mentorship program called Make the Connection to help girls explore their skills and interests. The firm also led an activation experience last year at the GSNC Expo for members of the council to experience space exploration through immersive games. 

In San Diego, October’s virtual workshops represented just one way the local office is working to introduce girls to cybersecurity and technology careers—and build a more diverse pipeline of STEM talent. A team of Booz Allen employees have volunteered to mentor Girl Scouts at upcoming career events, and Booz Allen sponsored a similar Girl Scout Cyber Camp last year at Moreno Valley College. 

In a full day of in-person games, challenges, and activities, employees and volunteers (including two Booz Allen San Diego cyber experts) demonstrated secure cyber practices, from making strong passwords to keeping personal information safe when using the internet. 

“The future is bright for women in technology, and this is an exciting and ever-changing field,” Brooks told Scouts at this year’s workshops.  

She mentioned that women comprise more than half of Booz Allen’s leadership. “STEM education has enabled us to dream big and use creativity and scientific experimentation to solve problems around us.”  

Girl Scouts who participated in the event had this to say:

  • “It reminded me girls can do anything. I enjoyed this a lot!”

  • “I have never learned about this before and I could be more careful from now on.”

  • “I want to be an engineer because of you guys since it is very interesting!”

  • “I now know I want to be a doctor or computer science engineer.”

“Each of you can shape new, innovative technology: whether that is making the internet a safer place, protecting our military abroad, building robots and virtual reality solutions, creating green energy technology, or designing rockets to shoot off to space. The sky is no longer the limit,” Brooks said. 

Learn more about careers in cybersecurity, the Booz Allen San Diego office, and women at Booz Allen.