There are numerous initiatives that are currently underway to aid and assist women in joining and staying in the STEM field, and in particular the cybersecurity arena. They come in many forms and flavors, but the one that I am particularly fond of is the process of endowment. There are numerous definitions of an endowment , but essentially it amounts to donating a sum of money to (usually) a non-profit organization and establishing a fund that is used for financially assisting someone who the organization feels is deserving. The criteria for the award might be financial need, excelling in the coursework or program, or demonstrating a special interest or involvement in the topical area.
Creating a lasting endowment is relatively painless, but does require a bit of work from all parties involved in it. First, you need to contribute ‘X’ amount of money to the fund (it doesn’t need to be a lot) and then create a name for the endowment. For example….”The Mary Smith Endowment for Women in Cybersecurity”. Once established, you and those within the non-profit will work towards increasing the funds in the account through solicitation. You can approach your employer, those you work with, friends and neighbors, but for the most part you want to seek contributions from industries that are connected with the endowment and who can see the long range benefit in backing people for the future – helping to establish a pipeline from school to their organization. Once you have established a certain level of funds in the endowment, it becomes free standing and goes on….forever. Each year a certain portion of the funds is withdrawn and awarded to the deserving individual.
The benefits to an endowment are two fold….well actually three. First, the students receives the award that can help them as they progress in the program and two…organizations are funding/backing those potential future employees and helping to fill the pipeline. Three? You get to have your name on the endowment at the college in perpetuity. Which means of course that you will be remembered for years to come as someone who cared enough about the future of women in cybersecurity to invest for their future…now.
Think it over, and if you decide to act, contact the appropriate people and see about getting your personal endowment established. You’ll be surprised how simple it is to do, how quickly the funds accumulate, and how good you will feel about the future.
The National Cybersecurity Institute offers many programs and courses and is a wealth of information on all aspects of cybersecurity including podcasts and webinars.