By Callie Ewing, BA ’03 MH ’22
Dominique West, MS ’19, was one of UD’s first cybersecurity scholarship recipients and will be starting in the Doctor of Business Administration program this fall. We asked her to share a little of her story with us.
What brought you to UD initially?
I was looking for a master's in cybersecurity degree, and there were not many fully online options to choose from. After doing some research, and speaking with the UD counselors and admissions team, I felt comfortable that this program would help me elevate my knowledge in the field. Something else that stood out to me was the mix of business and leadership classes along with technical ones.
What have you been doing since graduating?
I have been very involved in the cybersecurity community. I started a cybersecurity-focused newsletter and podcast called Security in Color. My aim was to give back to the larger community and share security tips, tricks and knowledge with those who are interested in being more cyber-savvy. In addition, I have done many speaking engagements and workshops, and even created a course for LinkedIn around Google Cloud Security.
What made you decide to pursue your DBA? What are your long-term goals, through your DBA and beyond?
I always knew I wanted to pursue a Ph.D. program at some point, but wasn't sure where or how. I learned about a DBA while at UD, and after doing some research and comparison, I thought the DBA program would suit my professional needs better than a Ph.D. program. DBAs take a more practical approach to research theory, and I knew I wanted my degree to apply to the work I was doing every day. I enjoyed my master's program at UD, so choosing UD’s DBA was a no-brainer for me.
As far as long-term goals, I am really interested in being involved with cutting-edge technology and future security concerns (i.e. disinformation, ethical AI, ML, etc.). I am hoping to use my DBA to continue to push the research in this area forward. In addition, my next career pursuit is to become a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) or Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of a company.
What advice might you have for others, especially women, who would like to enter the cybersecurity field?
The advice I always give my mentees and interested women is that it is OK to be afraid or overwhelmed by the field, but to never let that stop you from pursuing something. The reason I start with that is because this field is very broad and extensive when it comes to what you can study or what kind of job you can do. For some, that can be very scary and overwhelming — it definitely was for me! But I knew that this was an industry I wanted to be in and could thrive in — I just needed to find what I enjoyed doing and go from there.
My second piece of advice is to find your tribe. I am the membership lead for a nonprofit organization for women in cyber called the Women's Society of Cyberjutsu, and ever since I joined that organization, my experience in the industry has been 1,000 times better. I was not only able to network and find friends, but I had so many opportunities to learn and lead with other women who were interested in cyber.
Discover more about cybersecurity at UD.