Women in Cybersecurity Student Organization Spreads Awareness on Internet Safety

February 9, 2024

In 2004, the EU SafeBorders project launched an initiative called Safer Internet Day, which was later adopted by the Insafe network, a European network of Awareness Centers promoting safer internet usage, in 2005. Since then, Safer Internet Day is recognized every February in a worldwide effort of spreading awareness on emerging online issues and concerns.

In honor of Safer Internet Day, UIW’s Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS) student chapter recently tabled outside of the Student Engagement Center to spread awareness on how UIW community members can better ensure their safety online.

Attendees learned about choosing secure internet passwords, reporting inappropriate content, being conscious about what is posted on social media and more, all lessons that contributed to the club’s goal of helping to make the internet a safer place for everyone.

Danielle Shortt, president of the WiCyS UIW student chapter, helped to coordinate and lead this event with the purpose of sharing ways to protect personal data and identity online. “It is important to bring awareness to people on how they are making themselves vulnerable online. There are a few simple steps that can really help buckle down personal security to help keep your data safe,” she explained.

As a WiCyS member, she shared that she enjoys the resources the organization has to offer such as scholarships, grants, training, panels with professionals, programs to shadow a professional and help paying for certifications.

In addition to her involvement in WiCyS, she is also beyond pleased with the opportunities that the UIW Department of Cybersecurity has to offer, especially when it comes to the mentors who have helped to support her throughout her educational journey.

“The cybersecurity department does a great job of hiring professors who actually care about their students. I haven't had a professor yet that does not seem invested in my understanding of the material that we are learning. Not only that, but a good portion of them are also available for me whenever something is just not clicking for me,” described Shortt.

Amongst these professors is Dr. Meerna Ammari, instructor of Computer Information Systems (CIS) and faculty advisor for the WiCyS club.

“I was amazed by the WiCyS members’ enthusiasm and desire to learn, network and give back to the community,” shared Dr. Ammari. “Each year, a new set of equally motivated students volunteer to lead the chapter and carry out WiCyS mission of providing a platform to support and educate women in the cybersecurity industry.”

In her positions as both a mentor and educator, she is proud that she gets the opportunity to share her passion for CIS, contribute to academic and professional growth, foster understanding and witness the success of her students. In addition to all the support she aims to give students, she ultimately hopes to empower them to become not only successful professionals, but also compassionate and engaged citizens who contribute meaningfully to society. The Safer Internet Day event is just one demonstration of how those in the Department of Cybersecurity are striving to create a better present and future for the digital world.