Congratulations to Alexia Antoine of Texas on being awarded Fractional CISO’s 2021 vCISO Cybersecurity Scholarship!
Alexia’s dad started teaching her about computers and tech at just two years old. This has set her on a lifelong interest in tech and a growing interest in cybersecurity.
Alexia is a student at Collin County Community College in Texas. She’s planning on graduating in 2024 with a major in cybersecurity.
You can read her cybersecurity journey in her own words, below.
Alexia’s Cybersecurity Journey
“Rewind to 1992 and I’m in front of my dad’s cathode ray tube computer (the kind with the large back on it). I’m giggling at the “ooga-chaga” baby dance circles in all his diapered glory. I’m age two and just learned how to locate my first web file/page after watching my father locate it.
Fast forward nine years, and I’m sitting in my dad’s office, awhirl with the static of his many computers going at once. I’ve watched my father deconstruct and reconstruct computers to the point that I could step in at any point and Dad confidently allowed my technical contributions, from installing sticks of RAM to screwing on the outer cover of a desktop tower. My cybersecurity interest has grown stronger over the years, especially with my observations and research on the federal government’s overwhelming demand for technical cybersecurity talent and the startlingly underwhelming pool available to fill it.
With technical innovations occurring virtually around the clock, participating in defending the security of the virtual private cloud that many of our governmental bodies depend on is what I envision myself spending time doing long-term. I have seen over the years how internet technology has played a central role in connecting adults, teens, and children with one another when positively used, and how irresponsible technology use has caused harm. It just so happens that my name means “Defender of Mankind,” which is a calling I will be able to pursue, thanks to scholarships. I’ve witnessed my father hole away and teach himself how to pass tech certification after tech certification, which has made me a self-starter and innovative thinker today. On given projects, I take what I’ve learned, and apply it efficiently and in a way that creates convenience. Simply put, motherboards are in my blood.
I foresee threat intelligence measures in the form of, but not excluding verifying crimes in courts, and local judicial law enforcement agencies over the next 10 years for improved efficiency and phasing out of typical time-consuming and labor-intensive processes with high error rates, etc. In the financial sector, algorithms will continue to account for new financial breakthroughs and means of building and managing wealth over the course of the next 20 years for individuals and the economy as a whole, and more than I have begun to imagine.
I also project, based on the current pace and trajectory of threat intelligence, collaborations between insurance agencies, the healthcare field (mental, etc.), and governmental agencies across the world specifically in methods that create significant opportunities for highly-skilled individuals. The future is a brilliant one, and I plan to bring my specialized background to the cyber world and to serve as an asset for the foreseeable future, hopefully in the federal capacity at some point as I pursue. Today especially, threat intelligence fundamentals are mentioned by the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies to be the responsibility of various cyber disciplines including Cyber Operations, Cybersecurity Management, Executive Cyber Leadership, Legal Advice and Advocacy and Risk Management.
With this awareness, I’ve chosen Cybersecurity Governance Risk and Compliance as my discipline of choice, because as a previous FBI candidate in the Special Agent Selection System who progressed to Phase II, I understand prior to this time, during this time and to-date, how security has been an issue to individual and public safety, including for governmental bodies.
Though I was not destined to continue in the agent selection process, there is an opportunity to apply my current supervisory experience monitoring employees’ compliance to the legal, ethical, and confidential use of protected health information. This particular discipline will build on and further hone this experience while providing room for growth. Short-term, I would like to transition into a career as an Cybersecurity Analyst or greater, then eventually progress toward my long-term career of Chief Security Risk Governance Officer within 10 years.
It is my pursuit to become an Information Systems Security Developer. As a Licensed Professional Counselor, I’ve had the honor of guiding individuals toward optimal life functioning. Part of this role has involved protecting client confidentiality. My passion has since been honed to heavily include the technology world, particularly cybersecurity. Education in this new and growing field will equip me to protect individuals through strategic and field-specific skills.
As I pursue the Governance, Risk and Compliance discipline, my cybersecurity journey continues as I stay up-to-date on new industry needs using industry-related resources, including the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies nicc.cisa.gov website and Cyber Career Pathway Tool Cyber Career Pathways Tool | National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies (cisa.gov) to further hone the depth of my Cybersecurity roadmap and goals.
With this research, I have my sights set on developing the expertise to serve as Communications Security (COMSEC) Manager. What led me to this career focus is the required knowledge of management-centered cybersecurity and privacy principles, knowledge of encryption algorithms , knowledge of business continuity and disaster recovery continuity of operations plans, knowledge of cybersecurity and privacy principles used to manage risks related to the use, processing, storage, and transmission of information or data, and many more cybersecurity specific capabilities.”
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