WESTBOROUGH –The Massachusetts Cybersecurity Mentorship Program, an effort to grow and diversify the cyber workforce in Massachusetts, has reached several critical program milestones, eclipsing 100 students supported through the program, including 41 in the current session, an increase of 16 from fall 2021.
Launched as a pilot in fall 2020, the Cybersecurity Mentorship Program pairs diverse undergraduate students from across the Commonwealth with mentors from the state’s cybersecurity sector. Of the 41 mentors in the spring 2022 session, 18 are new to the program, representing 10 new organizations committed to the initiative.
“We’ve seen enthusiasm from both students and organizations interested in participating,” said Stephanie Helm, the Director of the MassCyberCenter. “This speaks to the real demand for diversity and inclusion in the cybersecurity workforce in the Commonwealth. This program is a great way to connect innovative and motivated young talent with cybersecurity employers.”
The program has hosted 101 total students during the four cycles of the program. The 41 students in the current session represent 18 Massachusetts two- and four-year higher education institutions. This session, the program added students from six new schools, bringing the total to 28 institutions across the state that have participated.
Visit the MassCyberCenter’s webpage to find the names of the students and mentors participating in the spring 2022 session.
Below are the names of each school in the current session, followed by the number of students, with new schools highlighted in bold:
|Bay Path University (1)||Bunker Hill Community College (8)||Massachusetts Institute of Technology (6)||Quincy College (2)||Springfield Technical Community College (3)||University of Massachusetts Boston (3)|
|Bridgewater State University (1)||Fitchburg State University (1)||Mount Wachusett Community College (1)||Quinsigamond Community College (1)||Tufts University (3)||University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (1)|
|Bristol Community College (1)||Massachusetts Bay Community College (2)||Northeastern University (1)||Smith College (1)||University of Massachusetts Amherst (2)||University of Massachusetts Lowell (3)|
Ten new companies are represented by mentors in the program this spring, including front-line cybersecurity firms, a municipality, major R&D Centers, a regional utility manager, a bank, and major tech firms:
|Arctic Wolf Networks||City of Worcester||CyberQ Technologies|
|ISO New England||Microsoft||MITRE|
|Noetic Cyber Inc.||Northern Bank & Trust Company||Numerated Growth Technologies|
Angelina Zhukova, a student at MassBay Community College who participated in the program last fall, highlighted the impact that her mentor from Boston-based Rapid7 had on her professional development.
"My mentor helped me implement new cybersecurity projects with Raspberry Pi, which helped me acquire my first internship in a global IT company as a security engineer intern," said Zhukova.
The program pairs students and mentors based on shared interests and once paired up, they meet virtually one-to-one to discuss cybersecurity careers and work together on a cyber-related project. Student mentees also attend information sessions on cybersecurity companies and participate virtually in career panels.
“The significant growth of the Mentorship Program – and the ability to welcome in 41 new students to the program – is a direct result of the level of engagement by corporations, government entities, and non-profits that signed up to be mentors,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. “By providing students with real-life exposure and creating the opportunity to build skills, the program will continue to play a critical role in training the future workforce in this important field. My thanks to each of the mentors and their employers for stepping up on this critical issue.”
According to the Aspen Institute, it is estimated that only 4 percent of cybersecurity workers self-identify as Hispanic, 9 percent as Black, and 24 percent as women. Previous sessions of the program confirmed that industry mentors can play a powerful role in encouraging diverse student talent to enter the cybersecurity profession.
For more information on the Cybersecurity Mentorship Program, including how to become a mentor or mentee in the program, visit: https://masscybercenter.org/mentorship.
About the MassCyberCenter
The MassCyberCenter was launched in September 2017 with a vision to enhance opportunities for the Massachusetts cybersecurity ecosystem to compete as the national cybersecurity leader while strengthening the resiliency of the Commonwealth’s public and private communities. Learn more at masscybercenter.org.