Cybersecurity Mentorship Pilot Program Recap

Monday, January 11, 2021

The Cybersecurity Mentorship Pilot Program kicked off in October 2020 as part of Massachusetts Cybersecurity Month and concluded in December 2020 with a Project Showcase. The Pilot paired ten diverse undergraduate students from across Massachusetts with mentors from the cybersecurity industry.

During the course of the program, the mentors and mentees engaged in regularly scheduled dialogue, participated in a variety of cybersecurity events such as informational career panels, and worked collaboratively on a cybersecurity project. The goal of the Mentorship Program is to encourage diverse college students to pursue a career in cybersecurity and promote the diversity of the cybersecurity workforce in Massachusetts. 

The Pilot Program confirmed that mentorship from industry professionals can play a powerful role in encouraging diverse student talent to enter the cybersecurity profession. In reviews of the pilot program, many of the student mentees reported "they were more interested" in pursuing a career in cybersecurity after participating in the Pilot Program. 

Student Project

Under the guidance of their mentors, students worked on individual cybersecurity projects during the Pilot Program. Students could choose to:

  • Build, break, secure, and administer a virtual machine;
  • Evaluate a cybersecurity policy or procedure for a business;
  • Draft a policy recommendation for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts;
  • Create or evaluate a cyber incident response plan; or
  • Develop a cyber education and awareness product.

Students presented their projects at the Project Showcase to their mentors and to members of the Pilot Program’s Steering Committee, the Massachusetts Cybersecurity Training and Education Working Group, and the Massachusetts Cybersecurity Strategy Council. The Showcase also included remarks from Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito.

Career Panels

Students and mentors attended two panels on careers in cybersecurity during Massachusetts Cybersecurity Month in October:

Panel 1: Jobs in Cybersecurity

Moderator: Gary Evee, Founder and CEO of Evee Security


  • Ming Chow, Professor of Computer Science at Tufts University;
  • Rodney Petersen, Director of the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education; and
  • Debby Briggs, CSO of Netscout.

Recording for Career Panel 1: Jobs in Cybersecurity

Panel 2: Cyber Across Industries

Moderator: Sam Curry, CSO of Cybereason


  • Ron Ford, Regional Cybersecurity Advisor - New England, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency;
  • Katherine Kountze, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Eversource Energy; and
  • David Guffrey, Medical Device Cybersecurity Program Manager, Mass General Brigham Health.

Recording for Career Panel 2: Cyber Across Industries


The following students and mentors participated in the program:


Debby Briggs

Fabio Martins
Research Information Security Office
Mass General Brigham

Erik Burns
Senior Security Solutions Engineer

Meghan Martinez
Digital Forensics and Incident Response Lead

Michael Daly
CTO, Cybersecurity, Training & Services, Raytheon Intelligence and Space

Jackie Silverstein
Director, Cyber Talent & Education Management

Jeffrey Gardner
Practice Advisor, Detection & Response, Rapid7

Michael Smith
Rising Tide Cybersecurity Management

Donato Kava
Associate Staff
MIT Lincoln Laboratory

Marc Zissman
Associate Head, Cyber Security and Information Sciences Division
MIT Lincoln Laboratory



Kristina Bowen
North Shore Community College

Christopher Morales-Gonzalez
University of Massachusetts – Lowell

Kiesha Foggs
The American Women’s College of Bay Path University

Karelys Mateo Spohn
The American Women’s College
of Bay Path University

Nicole Gomez
Assumption University

Kyla Thomas
Bay Path University

Olivia Hulsebosch
Assumption University

Thao Trinh
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Akash Mishra
Tufts University

Marcel Vieira
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth



Learn more about the Massachusetts Cybersecurity Mentorship Program here.