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Quote I Live By
“You are braver than you think, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” - Christopher Robin

I got into cyber – because it touches every industry we interact with and yet, as a general population, we’re the least informed about the entire subject. Cybersecurity impacts all of the technology we rely on and don’t even think about: getting in the car and trusting that it’ll turn on and get us home; ordering delivery with a credit card that we will need for purchases the next day; answering calls from loved ones and believing that it’s really them. I think it’s only natural to want to understand how it all works and what our options are if and when we need extra layers of protection in a digital world.

For me, a positive cyber mindset is – understanding you can have as much of an impact on this field as you want. Almost everyone in cyber is struggling with imposter syndrome and/or feels behind. And that’s because technological advancements are evolving far too quickly for any single person or organization to stay completely apace. If we can accept that we’re all constantly learning and that we must rely on each other to succeed, we’ll go a lot farther in fostering collaboration and proactively defending our infrastructure.

The skill that set me up for success is – creativity. The humanities are often forgotten when we’re trying to push for STEM education, but there’s a lot to be said about understanding art, history, or language in a way that encourages self-awareness, cultivates emotional intelligence, and enables diverse thinking.

What are you working on now? – I’m currently a Technical Advisor to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Artificial Intelligence Cyber Challenge (AIxCC) and it’s one of the most exciting initiatives I ever could have dreamed of supporting. AIxCC invites potential competitors to use tools at their disposal, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and large language models, to identify at-scale, open-source solutions to vulnerabilities embedded in our critical infrastructure. These vulnerabilities impact key industries ranging from financial services to water systems, leaving them exposed to threat actors who want to compromise or cause harm to these systems.

AIxCC invites potential competitors to vie for more than $20M USD in prize money and I am thrilled (!!) to see how many small businesses, universities, and individuals alike are expressing an interest in competing at this year’s Semifinal Competition, hosted at DEF CON in Las Vegas. We can’t wait to see what competitors come up with when they submit their solutions.

My inspiration is – effective storytelling, especially in the form of comedy. I really appreciate listening to comedians, especially when they weave heavy, controversial, and uncomfortable subjects into their bits. Storytelling is a really difficult art form to master, but when done well, it can teach us to find humor and even strength where we used to feel fear or unease. That’s really empowering, to a point where it can inspire people to get up and take action. Cybersecurity carries the unfortunate burden of being a relatively fear-inducing subject for a lot of audiences, and we haven’t yet cracked the code to make those conversations more accessible. I hope one day soon we can talk about cyber with the ease necessary to encourage engagement across all industries.

Something few people know about me is – I’ve hit a 650+ day streak on Duolingo, and I’m still going!

The quote I live by is – “You are braver than you think, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” – Christopher Robin