What is WiCyS?

WiCyS is the only non-profit membership organization with national reach that is dedicated to bringing together women in cybersecurity from academia, research and industry to share knowledge, experience, networking and mentoring. The initiative was created through an NSF grant (Award #1303441) by Dr. Ambareen Siraj at Tennessee Tech University six years ago, and has grown into a wonderful alliance among academia, government and industry. 

How Companies Benefit from Engagement with WiCyS

Companies need to have access to a pipeline of qualified candidates for cybersecurity jobs - both senior-level and students in the field who can join through apprenticeships and internships. It also makes perfect sense to hire women into these jobs, because it’s been proven that workforce diversity improves productivity and also enhances external perceptions. Promoting women into senior, thought leadership positions also adds tremendous value to companies’ positioning with stakeholders and customers.

We also seek funding for the organization’s mission in the form of Strategic Partners. WiCyS' founding partners are Facebook, Cisco and Palo Alto Networks. The Governing Board has representation from senior level cybersecurity experts from Facebook, Cisco, Tennessee Tech University, University of Texas Dallas, Naval Postgraduate School, Columbia University, CERT, George Washington University and Palo Alto Networks.

How Women Benefit from Participation in WiCyS

WiCyS offers mentoring, learning, networking and career development to women at all stages of their cybersecurity careers, Whether you are a student just considering a career in cybersecurity or an experienced leader in the cybersecurity workforce, WiCyS provides tangible benefits and a supportive community. Be sure to join as a WiCyS member and start receiving benefits immediately.

What is the WiCyS Conference?

Each year, WiCyS holds an annual conference with a local host university partner  - next year’s WiCyS Conference will be hosted by Carnegie Mellon University March 29-30 in Pittsburgh. The WiCyS Conference is an excellent opportunity for companies to connect with women students and candidates to recruit them into the field! 50% of our attendees are students looking for employment who have been accepted through the scholarship program that sponsorships help to support. In addition to students, the other 50% is made up of experienced leaders, professionals in the cybersecurity field who are willing to share their knowledge and expertise with others and mentor those interested in cyber careers. There are many ways to participate in WiCyS - as volunteers, speakers, sponsors and supporters. 

Because of the enormous gap between available talent and cybersecurity jobs (by some accounts it’s 300,000 by the year 2020), the mission of Women in CyberSecurity makes so much sense – to broaden participation in cyber by recruiting, retaining and advancing women in the field of cybersecurity, and improve on the very low 11% statistic of women in cybersecurity jobs. 

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Dr. Ambareen Siraj

WiCyS Founder & Board Member

Director, Cybersecurity Education, Research and Outreach Center, Tennessee Tech University

Dr. Siraj, Professor of Computer Science at Tennessee Tech, teaches security courses at both the undergraduate and graduate level. She has focused her research on the vast areas surrounding cybersecurity, including security in cyber-physical systems, Internet of Things, situation assessment in network security, security education and workforce development.

As the founding director of Tennessee Tech’s Cybersecurity Education, Research and Outreach Center (CEROC), Dr. Siraj is the leader on several National Science Foundation and National Security Agency grants involving cybersecurity, and is the founder of the national Women in CyberSecurity conference, an initiative to recruit, retain and advance women in the cybersecurity industry.

Dr. Siraj’s effort to educate students and enhance the cybersecurity field of study goes beyond classes, research and outreach projects, workshops and conferences. She has authored or co-authored more than 40 journal and conference articles while taking an active part in promoting cybersecurity training throughout the nation. She is also a frequent speaker in various cybersecurity conferences nationwide. Dr. Siraj is recipient of the ­Colloquium for Information Systems Security Education Exceptional Leadership in Education Award in 2018.


Taly Walsh

Executive Director, Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS)

Taly Walsh serves as Executive Director of Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to recruiting, retaining and advancing women in the field of cybersecurity.

Taly is a creative, strategic business leader with extensive experience in the non-profit arena. She previously held positions as Vice President of Marketing and Events at the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA); Senior Vice President of Membership and Marketing at InfoComm International (the trade organization for the audiovisual industry); Director of Communications with Thomson Financial leading marketing for a biometrics conference; and Director of Communications for Public Technology, Inc., a non-profit organization promoting technology R&D in state and local governments.

Taly is a fun-loving, down-to-earth and roll-up-your-sleeves executive with a passion for promoting women in the workforce. She enjoys painting, hiking, yoga, learning and reading. She has 30-year old married twin sons and lives with her husband in the Washington, DC area. She can be reached at talywalsh@wicys.org or 571-289-6602. Her LinkedIn profile is at https://www.linkedin.com/in/talywalsh


WiCyS Board of Governors

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Dr. Janell Straach


Director, Center for Engaging Women in Cybersecurity, University of Texas Dallas

Dr. Janell Straach is a professor of Software Engineering and Computer Science at The University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas).  She is also the Director of the Center for Engaging Women in CyberSecurity.   Dr. Straach has both industry and academic experience.  Janell has a Bachelors from Angelo State University in San Angelo, TX, Masters from Texas A&M, UT Dallas, MBA from University of Dallas and a PhD from UT Dallas.  She is passionate about connecting, inspiring, and guiding females in technology careers.

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Dr. Costis Toregas


Director, Cyber Security and Privacy Research Institute, George Washington University

Costis Toregas is the Associate Director of the Cyber Security and Privacy Research Institute at The George Washington University, where he manages and conducts research projects in cybersecurity. His research interests include workforce development, the role of insurance in cyber risk management, and exploring a fuller utilization of Community Colleges in the cybersecurity work force strategies.  He is a Senior Advisor & Director, Scholarship for Service (SFS) Four-Year to the National CyberWatch Center. He is a respected consultant to national governments and intergovernmental organizations, and a much sought-after speaker on the impact of technology in government and society. Dr. Toregas has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and a M.S. and a Ph.D. in Environmental Systems Engineering from Cornell University.

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Dr. Dawn M. Beyer

Senior Fellow, Lockheed Martin Space

Dr. Dawn Beyer is a Lockheed Martin (LM) Senior Fellow. She has over 29 years of experience covering information technology security, information assurance, security engineering, cybersecurity, systems engineering, military intelligence and operations, risk assessments, strategy, and policy development and execution. She provides consultation to research and development, proposal, program, and operations and maintenance teams. She also provides guidance, direction, leadership, training, and mentoring to Engineers.

Dr. Beyer is a cyber leader in LM and Industry. She provides leadership with the visibility into cyber strategy, workforce talent, technology, capabilities, risks, policy, and opportunities. At LM, Dr. Beyer is the LM Cyber Fellows Action Team Chair. She also engages in industry exchanges and Co-chairs the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) Cybersecurity Division and is a member of the INCOSE Systems Security Engineering (SSE) Working Group, and a LM Representative to the NDIA SSE Committee. She is a member of the Society of Women Engineers.

Dr. Beyer is a retired Air Force Intelligence Officer with 24 years of service and has performed additional responsibilities as an Information Systems Security Manager, Computer Systems Security Officer, Communications Security Manager, Operations Security Manager, and Emissions Security Manager.

Dr. Beyer earned her Ph.D., M.S., and B.S. in Information Systems. Her Dissertation and Thesis  centers around Cyber and Information Warfare. She maintains the following certifications:

Project Management Institute’s Program Management Professional (PMP)®, (ISC) 2 ’s Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)® and Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional (CSSLP)®, and ISACA’s Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)®.

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Dr. Cynthia Irvine

Director, Center for Information Systems Security Studies and Research, Naval Post Graduate School

Cynthia Irvine is a Distinguished Professor of Computer Science at the Naval Postgraduate School, where she is the Director of the Center for Cybersecurity and Cyber Operations. She served as the founding Chair of the Cyber Academic Group at the Naval Postgraduate School. 

Her research has focused on developmental security as applied to trustworthy systems, and on cyber operations. Through curriculum development, educational tools, teaching, and professional activities, Dr. Irvine has worked to enhance cybersecurity education. The author of over technical 200 papers, she has supervised the research of over 140 Masters and PhD students. 

She has served as Chair of the IEEE Technical Committee on Security and Privacy. A recipient of the Naval Information Assurance Award, Dr. Irvine was inducted into the Cyber Security Hall of Fame in 2015. 

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Prajakta Jagdale

RED TEAM program manager, Palo Alto Networks

Prajakta Jagdale (PJ) manages the Red Team program at Palo Alto Networks and is focused on ensuring the security of the company’s infrastructure. Her red teaming success can be attributed to the 7+ years as an application security researcher at Hewlett-Packard. During this period, her research on vulnerabilities in web technologies like JAVA, SQL, Flash, HTML5 and others contributed towards a software product designed to mimic a human hacker.  Then as a product security architect at Intuit, she spent her time identifying and demonstrating, to architects and engineers, the exploitable security flaws in designs of complex, large-scale network and software infrastructures responsible for delivering the financial, accounting and tax preparation services.

Over the years, Prajakta has had the opportunity to present her work at several security conferences including Black Hat Federal, RSA Europe, Shmoocon, InfoSec World and others.

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Jay Koehler

Diversity, Inclusion & Engagement Manager, Security & Trust Organization, Cisco

Jay Koehler is a Diversity, Inclusion and Engagement Manager in the Security & Trust Organization, where she is responsible for workforce planning. Over her 18 years at Cisco Jay has worn several different hats – from software engineer, to software engineer manager, to program management.

Jay’s passion for people, diversity, and helping others propelled her into her current position in workforce planning, creating and defining the role from the ground up.  Jay leads S&TO in how the organization recruits and develops talent, aspiring to to ultimately create a more diverse and innovative pool of cybersecurity professionals.

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Margaret Morton

VP, IT Compliance, Risk and Cybersecurity, Société Générale Americas

Margaret Morton is a Vice President with Société Générale, a French multinational banking and financial services company headquartered in Paris, where she focuses in permanent supervision, operational risk, as well as cybersecurity and trade reporting enhancements for the Americas (North and South) region,  which spans five offices from Montréal to São Paulo. 

 Ms. Morton's background is in investigations, having worked for leading U.S-based law firms, as well as for Tokyo- and Amsterdam-based private service providers. For the Federal Sector Ms. Morton has also managed multi-task order programs for the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, as well as for the National Exam Program at the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Ms. Morton attained her M.S. from Columbia University in the City of New York and lives in the Battery Park City neighborhood in lower Manhattan.

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Dr. Greg Shannon

Chief Scientist, CERT® Division, Software Engineering Institute (SEI), Carnegie Mellon University

Dr. Greg Shannon is a computer scientist with diverse experience and a leading expert in science, technology, and policy for cybersecurity. He recently served in the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy as the Assistant Director for Cybersecurity Strategy and has testified before Congress on cybersecurity, science for security, critical infrastructure, resilience, and cyber threats. He served as the first Chair of IEEE’s Cybersecurity Initiative and the General Chair for the 2015 IEEE Symposium on Security & Privacy.

Dr. Shannon received a BS in Computer Science from Iowa State University with minors in Mathematics, Economics, and Statistics. He earned his MS and PhD in Computer Sciences at Purdue University, with a fellowship from the Packard Foundation.

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Stephanie Siteman

Info Security Program and Operations Manager, Facebook

Stephanie Siteman has been working in Information Protection and Cybersecurity for about ten years and has managed very large global initiatives. She has led engagements throughout United States and internationally in counties such as Bulgaria, India, Rwanda, and Nigeria.

Prior to Facebook, she developed and led the Information Protection Vendor Security team at Target Corporation. At Facebook, she is focused on diversity and education in Cybersecurity with the hopes of empowering and engaging the next generation of security professionals.


WiCyS 2019 Annual Conference Committees