The cybersecurity field has been male-dominated for many years, but Champlain women are changing the game. Students, alumni, and faculty traveled to Denver, CO over spring break to attend the Women in Cybersecurity Conference (WiCyS) and network with Champlain alumni, future employers, and other young cybersecurity professionals.
First-year Computer Networking & Cybersecurity major Hannelore Sanokklis ’26 added the conference to a growing list of professional experiences she’s already had at Champlain. The Research Assistant and Technical Leader on the Leahy Center’s CyberTech Awareness Team attended panels and lectures focusing on resume building, networking, and building confidence.
“I made some amazing connections with women in different fields of cybersecurity, each with unique experiences and insights on how they became successful in their respective fields,” Sanokklis said.
Along with varying panels and lectures, the WiCyS hosted socials and a career fair for connecting with others within the field.
“I talked to many representatives about cybersecurity at their companies and was amazed at just how broad the industry is,” Sanokklis said. “I felt like I could have gone up to any person at the conference and engage in a conversation with them.”
Champlain’s cybersecurity and digital forensics students are able to jump into hands-on professional experience right away through the Leahy Center for Digital Forensics & Cybersecurity, and for Sanokklis, this conference was a way to take an extra step toward her future career.
“I wanted to attend this conference to get a better idea of companies that are safe spaces for women. Seeing women in positions of power at different companies was comforting, especially at big companies such as Amazon and Google,” she said. “If they can do it, so can I.”
At Champlain, clubs like Womxn in Technology are meant to reinforce the idea that women have a place in positions of power, everywhere. While the club focuses on the experiences of female-identifying and gender non-conforming people, it offers a safe and supportive space for all students entering a difficult field.
Computer & Digital Forensics senior Amy Keigwin ’23 attended multiple conference panels and workshops focused on 5G technology, cooperation between universities, and how digital forensics can actually be used to solve crimes. But her biggest takeaway?
“The women-in-cybersecurity community is robust and extremely supportive, willing to aid anyone who needs help,” Keigwin said.
Computer & Digital Forensics major Alayna Cash ’24 echoed her admiration of the close-knit community of women within the cybersecurity field.
“The enduring impact of imposter syndrome on women in this field was a recurring theme, reinforcing the importance of fostering a sense of belonging and inclusivity,” Cash said.