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CyberSpotlight: MBA Alumna Advocates for Opportunity in Cyber Field
An ongoing series featuring successful students and alumni of UD’s Master of Science in Cybersecurity program.
It was the right information, the right education, the right degree at the right time, and it opened doors for me that I didn’t even know I wanted opened.

By Callie Ewing, BA ’03 MH ’22

Teresa Merklin, MBA ’05, has worked for Lockheed Martin for nearly two decades. After beginning at the company in software management, she is now a fellow specializing in cyber risk assessment and engineering for cyber resiliency. We asked her to share a little of her story with us.

What led you to the University of Dallas for your MBA?

Well, UD was one of the local and approved schools with the company I was working for at the time. Really, I didn’t set out to get my MBA — I just needed a couple of accounting classes. So I took two accounting classes, then a class on entrepreneurship. Then, though, the company I was working for was about to go under, so I changed companies and started working in software management at Lockheed Martin. That’s where I was exposed to cybersecurity and discovered the synergy between the UD MBA program and cyber, so I ended up finishing my MBA.

Tell me about what you’ve been doing since then, especially what you’re doing now and how you got to that role.

I started at Lockheed Martin in software management, which had been my whole career up to that point, but I discovered that the security stuff was so fun and interesting. The certifications were easy to pass once I had the UD education. I was still working in software management; I didn’t immediately pivot to cyber, but then they came looking for me. It was a very easy decision, an offer I couldn’t refuse, too good to pass up. This was all because of the education and certification I had received through UD.

How do you think your MBA UD has helped you?

It was the right information, the right education, the right degree at the right time, and it opened doors for me that I didn’t even know I wanted opened.

What advice might you have for other women, especially current undergraduate or graduate students, who want to pursue a career in cybersecurity?

This is an area that’s obviously very near and dear to me. It can be a very hard career for women; even computer science can be a boys’ club, with a “bro culture” that can make the field unwelcoming for women. Women aren’t necessarily helped in the same way men are. So my advice is to go and find a mentor — go and find a champion to help you navigate your way through it. The main thing is to get someone to help you navigate both the technical aspects and the culture.

Also, don’t ever let anyone sell you short. The field is wide open — right now there’s an oppressive and dire shortage of talent. With that shortage comes opportunity for everyone. It’s just a matter of who pursues the education and the skills most effectively. There’s no reason anyone can’t succeed, because there’s nothing but opportunity in the field right now.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Cybersecurity is a field for people who like to solve problems. The industry is aware that an effective cybersecurity workforce requires both ethnic diversity and diversity of thought to be effective. The very best cybersecurity organizations recognize that they need an array of diverse perspectives to succeed.

Read more about our cybersecurity students, alumni and faculty.

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