ACES Student Attends Women in Cybersecurity Conference 2024

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The Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS) Conference is the premier event to recruit, retain, and advance women in cybersecurity. Bringing together women and allies from academia, research, government, and industry, WiCyS creates a community of engagement, encouragement, and support at a technical conference designed for women and allies.

WiCyS 2024, held from April 11-13, 2024, at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, Tennessee, stood out as the go-to event for cybersecurity professionals, students, and organizations. The conference featured keynote speakers, technical presentations, workshops, panels, lightning talks, networking socials, résumé reviews, mock interviews, professional headshots, a career fair, a Capture-the-Flag competition, and a breakfast to honor military personnel.

Evelyn Jiang, a sophomore at the University of Maryland pursuing a degree in computer science, and part of the ACES Living-Learning Program, had the opportunity to attend this year’s event. She shared her enlightening experience with us.

Discovery and Preparation for the Conference

Evelyn discovered WiCyS through a friend and took several steps to prepare for the event.

"I found out about the Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS) conference through a friend who attended the previous year. I was excited to attend because I received a scholarship and I thought that it would be a valuable experience. To prepare for the conference, I got my resume reviewed by multiple people and printed out several copies. I also asked upperclassmen for their advice on how to take advantage of this experience and tips for networking."

Surprises and Highlights at WiCyS 2024

Attending her first conference, Evelyn was amazed by the venue and the unexpected offerings.

"Since this was my first conference, there were multiple things that surprised me. The conference was held at Gaylord Opryland which is one of the largest hotels in the world, it had a river within the hotel and a ferry which could take you around the hotel, and the conference rooms could fit so many people. Something else that surprised me was that the conference also provided credits towards certifications, because I didn’t know that conferences offered them and that some certifications require credits."

Key Takeaways from the Conference

Evelyn left the conference feeling inspired and motivated by the new experiences and connections she made.

"My biggest takeaway was: Go and try new things. I applied to this conference and I was fortunate to attend and meet so many incredible women working in the tech and cybersecurity industry. I am really glad that I attended this conference, which was a new experience for me. I left the conference feeling inspired and motivated to continue my pursuit of a career in technology and cybersecurity."

Advice for Future Conference Attendees

Evelyn offers practical advice for students planning to attend similar conferences in the future.

"Talk to as many people as you can, participate in workshops, and go to the career fair. I knew that this conference was going to be a big networking opportunity, and I found myself stressing out a couple days before, but I would advise to just go in with an open mind because there will be so many different workshops, socials, and talks to attend. Just take the time to enjoy yourself, make new friends, and learn as much as you can."

Evelyn Jiang's experience at the WiCyS 2024 Conference underscores the incredible opportunities such events offer to students. From hands-on workshops to invaluable networking, conferences like WiCyS inspire and shape the career paths of future cybersecurity professionals. At ACES, we advocate for all our students to engage in such conferences, as they provide unparalleled opportunities for practical learning and professional development in cybersecurity

Published May 30, 2024