News

Who Will Be the New Leaders of the American Tech Industry?

News Article | November 12, 2020

INTERVIEW | by Victor Rivero
Read the original article from EdTech Digest, here.

Founded in 2016 in Lowell, Mass., Kids in Tech prepares students with interactive, free after school programs in computers and technology. According to program data, by 2024, 80% of the top 10 most in-demand STEM jobs in the Greater Lowell area will be in technology – and, these are some of the top-most desired skills for many growing industries across the country.

In the past three years, the program has offered their solutions at four different sites serving local children from low-income families. Over 90 percent of participants report increased knowledge, skills, and interest in STEM fields. They’re rapidly expanding and look forward to offering help in more communities across the region and around the country.

‘…too many children are not mastering STEM skills at an early age. We want to help all kids thrive in school and beyond.’

“Our programs focus on helping kids develop the necessary tech skills and aptitudes to participate in and be future leaders of the 21st-century innovation economy,” says Olu Ibrahim, Founder and CEO (pictured, above). “[Our] long-term vision is to unlock the untapped potential of young people in cities across the United States, and equip them with the skills and drive to not only staff, but one day lead, the American tech industry.”

The nonprofit partners with administrators to deliver after-school “Tech Clubs”, which expose students both in classroom and remotely to fun, insightful STEM-related projects that showcase the various facets of the field with the goal to intrigue career opportunities down the road in robotics, app development, cybersecurity and more.

They were recently named a partner of the third-annual Massachusetts STEM Week, where they hosted a cybersecurity challenge for students statewide. 

Read More > “Who Will Be the New Leaders of the American Tech Industry?”

Interview with JPMorgan Chase & Co. Cybersecurity experts

Blog Post | October 31, 2020

Hi guys! This is Jael Whitney, volunteer for Kids in Tech. For Cybersecurity Awareness Month and #MassSTEMWeek, I’m going to be talking to professionals all across the cybersecurity industry about the future of STEM. Today, I’m interviewing a few members of the Cybersecurity teams at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. : Ileana van der Linde, Cybersecurity Awareness Program Lead, Kevin Tompkins, Cybersecurity Awareness Associate, and Sheldon Spence, Cybersecurity Operations Associate for the Cybersecurity and Technology Controls Team.

Sheldon Spence

Ileana van der Linde
Kevin Tompkins

Tell me about your background in cybersecurity!

Ileana: My path into Cybersecurity has been an interesting one. I went to college to study Economics and Languages, and also took programming classes along the way. I ended up working in the college computer lab, helping people understand how to fix their computer problems. It helped me learn how to not just deal with technology, but also with people. During my career I took those same skills, and combined my understanding of business, people, and technology. And today, I educate bank clients on how they can be more cyber secure in their everyday life, so again I am using my knowledge of business, people, and technology.

Kevin: Currently: Cybersecurity Awareness Associate at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.

Formerly: Infrastructure Automation Business Analyst at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.

Graduated: Syracuse University with a BS in Information Systems Management

Sheldon:
Currently: Cyber Warfare Operations Officer At The United States Air Force
Cybersecurity Operations Associate At J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.

Formerly:
Detective/Digital Forensics Technician At The New York City Police Department

Graduated:
Long Island University with a BS in Information Systems
Fordham University with a MS in Cybersecurity

Certifications:
Comptia Security+ CE
EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker
GIAC Certified Forensic Analyst

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Interview with Mark Turner and Maxim Weinstein from Sophos

Blog Post | October 30, 2020

Hi guys! This is Jael Whitney, volunteer for Kids in Tech. For Cybersecurity Awareness Month and #MassSTEMWeek, I’m talking to professionals all across the cybersecurity industry about the future of STEM. Today, I’m interviewing a few members of the Cybersecurity teams at Sophos, an international security software and hardware company: Mark Turner, Senior New England Field Channel Account Executive, and Maxim Weinstein, Senior Director of Market Intelligence.

Credit: Mark Turner
Credit: Maxim Weinstein

Tell me about your background in cybersecurity!

Mark: Born in the UK, came to america in 1998 to go to college. Got into cybersecurity when I came out of college, started working for Sophos in 2006. Started as a sales development representative and worked my way up to channel account executive. Have been working in the local New England area for the last 7 years.

Maxim: I am a technologist and educator with a passion for information security. Since first learning to write BASIC programs on a TRS-80 Color Computer with 16 KB of RAM, I have gone on to deploy Active Directory, manage firewalls, teach IT support, build several PCs, earn MCSE and CISSP credentials, make TCP jokes with Vint Cerf, get quoted as a security expert by the BBC and the New York Times and lead the non-profit anti-malware organization StopBadware. I am now the Senior Director of Market Intelligence at Sophos. I live near Boston and have an unhealthy love of dessert.

How long have you been involved in Cybersecurity? What do you enjoy about it?

Mark: 14 years – I enjoy how it is always changing and adapting.

Maxim: 12+ years. Cybersecurity is a dynamic field. There’s always something new to learn: A new term, a new technology, a new competitor, a new threat. Meanwhile, you get to do something good, protecting people and businesses from criminals and saboteurs. It also forces you to think in new ways. If you tend to see risks, you have to think about how to protect against them. If you tend to be solution-oriented, you have to think about how someone might exploit your solutions.

The theme for this year’s Massachusetts STEM Week is “See Yourself in STEM,” with a particular focus on the power of mentoring. How can we help more young people see themselves in STEM?

Mark: Help them understand how critical technology is to not just the world but to everyday life. How it can be both beneficial & dangerous.

Maxim: Focus on the opportunities instead of the challenges. Young people don’t need more reminders of how difficult the field is, the biases that exist, or the gatekeeping that takes place. They can see those for themselves. Instead, introduce them to available resources, the limitless potential of your field, and people willing to help them get ahead.

Anything else you’d like to say to those who are interested in exploring the field more?

Maxim: Attitude is everything. When young people turn away from STEM, it’s because they’ve convinced themselves that the field isn’t for them. But STEM, and cybersecurity in particular, has room for anyone willing to immerse themselves in it.

Interview with Diana Kelley, Co-Founder and CTO of SecurityCurve

Blog Post |

Hi guys! This is Jael Whitney, volunteer for Kids in Tech. For Cybersecurity Awareness Month and #MassSTEMWeek, I’m talking to professionals all across the cybersecurity industry about the future of STEM. Today, I’m interviewing Diana Kelley, Co-Founder and CTO of SecurityCurve, an independent IT research and consulting company. 

Credit: Diana Kelley

Diana Kelley’s security career spans over 30 years. She is Co-Founder and CTO of SecurityCurve and donates much of her time to volunteer work in the cybersecurity community, including serving on the ACM Ethics & Plagiarism Committee, as CTO and Board member at Sightline Security, Board member and Inclusion Working Group champion at WiCyS, Cybersecurity Committee Advisor at CompTIA, and RSAC US Program Committee. Diana produces the #MyCyberWhy series, hosts BrightTALK’s The Security Balancing Act, and is a Principal Consulting Analyst with TechVision Research. She was the Cybersecurity Field CTO for Microsoft, Global Executive Security Advisor at IBM Security, GM at Symantec, VP at Burton Group (now Gartner), and a Manager at KPMG. She is a sought after keynote speaker, the co-author of the book Cryptographic Libraries for Developers, has been a lecturer at Boston College’s Masters program in cybersecurity, and is one of Cybersecurity Ventures 100 Fascinating Females Fighting Cybercrime.

Hi Diana! How long have you been involved in Cybersecurity? What do you enjoy about it?

Over 30 years. I enjoy that it helps people and touches every aspect of our lives. We can’t benefit from technology if we can’t trust it, and we can’t trust it if it was built with security and privacy by design.

The theme for this year’s Massachusetts STEM Week is “See Yourself in STEM,” with a particular focus on the power of mentoring. How can we help more young people see themselves in STEM?

By showing them all the different ways that STEM helps people and all the different kids of people in STEM. Also by letting them know that it’s not a binary situation – I love computers and english lit and art. I’m self taught in cybersecurity and majored in English Lit in college. One of my managers was shocked to find out I was an English major because I’m so technical. If students knew it’s OK to be good in a lot of areas and that STEM doesn’t limit them to one area alone – think that could help to encourage more people to study it.

Anything else you’d like to share?

That we need a diversity of skills, backgrounds, and brains in cybersecurity. Yes, we need engineers and data scientists but we also need graphics experts and great communicators and storytellers to help raise awareness. And financial experts to fund the next great idea. And psychiatrists to help with insight about how to educate end-users of cyber awareness and to categorize and better understand our adversaries. These are just a few examples.

Interview with Dr. Kelley Misata, President and Executive Director of The Open Information Security Foundation

Blog Post | October 29, 2020

Hi guys! This is Jael Whitney, volunteer for Kids in Tech. For Cybersecurity Awareness Month and #MassSTEMWeek, I’m talking to professionals all across the cybersecurity industry about the future of STEM. Today, I’m interviewing Dr. Kelley Misata, President and Executive Director of The Open Information Security Foundation.

Credit: Dr. Kelley Misata

Dr. Kelley Misata is a cyber and information security executive with 15+ years of experience in strategic initiatives, business development, community and customer growth, marketing, and communications. Today, she is expanding her groundbreaking dissertation research on the security preparedness of nonprofits into a new venture, Sightline Security, missioned to helping underserved enterprises and community sectors. Her current role as President and Executive Director of The Open Information Security Foundation and past role as Communications Director at The Tor Project allows Kelley to spotlight her expertise in open source and network security. Proven success bringing complex cyber and information security principles to business and non-technical audiences, Dr. Misata is an expert in bridging the gap between technical and non-technical. A business-minded researcher with a groundbreaking dissertation in the information security of nonprofits, she continually draws on current trends and conversations in information security and privacy to create strategies that intersect people, process, and technology. Dr. Misata holds a Ph.D. in Information Security, a Masters Degree in Business Administration and Marketing, and a Bachelor of Science in Marketing.

Hi Dr. Misata! How long have you been involved in Cybersecurity? What do you enjoy about it?

I have been involved in cyber and information security since 2010 as a result of a personal event.  Looking in the rear-view mirror, I see today that what happened to me put me on this path for (maybe) what I meant to do – empower and inspire people to come into the fold of cybersecurity.  Yes, it can be scary, complicated, and overwhelming, but if I can do it – you can do it!

The theme for this year’s Massachusetts STEM Week is “See Yourself in STEM,” with a particular focus on the power of mentoring. How can we help more young people see themselves in STEM?

We can help more young people by keeping a “seat at the table open” for them – meaning diversity of thought, experience, and ideas is as valuable as a passion for computing and security.  Sometimes it’s difficult to imagine how your “superpowers” and skills fit in – it is my hope as a mentor to help people discover their path and value their contribution.

Interview with Sonia Arista, Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at Everbridge

Blog Post | October 28, 2020

Hi guys! This is Jael Whitney, volunteer for Kids in Tech. For Cybersecurity Awareness Month and #MassSTEMWeek, I’m talking to professionals all across the cybersecurity industry about the future of STEM. Today, I’m interviewing Sonia Arista, XYZ. Sonia Arista serves as Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at Everbridge, with global oversight of operational and product security and compliance. She brings over 20 years in IT program management and consulting in the areas of governance, risk and compliance, with the last 15 years focused on enterprise data protection.

Credit: Sonia Arista

Prior to joining Everbridge, Sonia was the Healthcare CISO and vertical lead for Fortinet and was a prior CISO at Tufts Medical Center and the Floating Hospital for Children where she was responsible for the development and management of Information Security programs.  She has also been contracted to serve as an interim CISO for several healthcare-related entities like Wellforce, Nuance Communications and Verscend Technologies. Her experience in information security leadership includes board-level advisement, incident response, and rapid program alignment to support growth associated with mergers and acquisitions.

Originally from Houston, Sonia graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Business Administration, then moved to the Boston area 20 years ago.  She recently completed her Executive Masters in Cybersecurity at Brown University. She contributes time as a professional mentor to young professionals seeking a career in security, and guest lectures for organizations promoting women in STEM and minority advancement.

Hi Sonia! How long have you been involved in Cybersecurity? What do you enjoy about it?

20 + years – I love how cybersecurity is pertinent in every facet of our professional and private lives.

Read More > “Interview with Sonia Arista, Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at Everbridge”

Interview with Kevin Powers, J.D., Cybersecurity Advisor, Researcher, and Professor

Blog Post | October 27, 2020

Hi guys! This is Jael Whitney, volunteer for Kids in Tech. For Cybersecurity Awareness Month and #MassSTEMWeek, I’m talking to professionals all across the cybersecurity industry about the future of STEM. Today, I’m interviewing Professor Kevin R. Powers, J.D., Principal Security Researcher at Kaspersky. Kevin is the founder and Director of the M.S. in Cybersecurity Policy and Governance Program at Boston College, and an Assistant Professor of the Practice at Boston College Law School and in Boston College’s Carroll School of Management’s Business Law and Society Department.

Credit: Kevin Powers

With over 20 years of combined law enforcement, military, national security, business, higher education, and teaching experience, he has worked as an analyst and an attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Navy, U.S. Department of Defense, law firms in Boston and Washington, D.C., and as the General Counsel for an international software company based in Seattle, Washington. Along with his teaching at Boston College, Kevin is a Research Affiliate at the MIT Sloan School of Management and he has taught courses at the U.S. Naval Academy, where he was also the Deputy General Counsel to the Superintendent. Kevin also is a Senior Cybersecurity Advisor for the national law firm of Manatt, Phelps, & Phillips, LLP, serves as a Trustee for the Board of Boston College High School, as a Director of the Board of Reading Cooperative Bank, and as a Member of the Boston College Law School Business Advisory Council. From 2016-2017, he was the Panel Lead for the Collegiate Working Group for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE). Kevin regularly provides expert commentary regarding cybersecurity and national security concerns for varying local, national, and international media outlets.

Hi Dr. Powers! How long have you been involved in Cybersecurity? What do you enjoy about it?

10 plus years. What I enjoy most about cybersecurity is working with others to resolve problems. Every day, things change and there’s a new challenge. It’s about not only protecting governments or businesses; it’s about protecting your community, family, and friends.

Read More > “Interview with Kevin Powers, J.D., Cybersecurity Advisor, Researcher, and Professor”

Interview with Brian Bartholomew, Principal Security Researcher at Kaspersky

Blog Post | October 26, 2020

Hi guys! This is Jael Whitney, volunteer for Kids in Tech. For Cybersecurity Awareness Month and #MassSTEMWeek, I’m going to be talking to professionals all across the cybersecurity industry about the future of STEM. Today, I’m interviewing Brian Bartholomew, Principal Security Researcher at Kaspersky.

Credit: Brain Bartholome

Hi Brian! Can you tell us a bit about your background in Cybersecurity?

I got my start as a tier 1 analyst in a monitoring center working night shifts in 2000. From there, I joined the State Department in 2001 working for the Computer Emergency Response Team focused on defensive roles and investigations. I soon became interested in the offensive side of things and subsequently joined the Red Team performing penetration tests on various systems within the government. In 2009, I moved to the Middle East on a different government contract. In 2012, I moved back to the US where I began working with iSight Partners to help produce cyber threat intelligence products for various private customers. Finally in 2015, I joined Kaspersky where I’ve been with the Global Research and Analysis Team ever since.

How long have you been involved in Cybersecurity? What do you enjoy about it?

It’s been about 20 years since I got my start in the industry, and not a day goes by where I don’t say to myself “How did I even get here”. I think what’s most exciting for me is this field has so many opportunities and different skill sets for people to branch out into. I’ve always had the opinion that when the day comes that your job gets boring, it’s time to pick up the books and learn a new skill set. This industry provides us with so many choices to pick from there’s no reason to ever have a boring job.

Read More > “Interview with Brian Bartholomew, Principal Security Researcher at Kaspersky”

Lowell-based Kids in Tech expands STEM opportunities

News Article | October 25, 2020

By John Laidler , Boston Globe Correspondent

In 2016, Olu Ibrahim began Lowell-based Kids in Tech with a goal of inspiring children from low-income backgrounds to consider future careers in math and technology-related fields.

In the ensuing four years, her organization has created after-school clubs at Lowell schools and youth organizations that annually expose girls and boys ages 8 to 14 to STEM subjects ranging from robot-building to cybersecurity and app development.

Recently, the nearly all-volunteer nonprofit earned some notable recognition when the group was selected to serve as a partner organization in this year’s STEM Week, an annual program of lessons, speakers, and design challenges held in participating schools.

With the selection came a $50,000 grant from the state’s STEM Advisory Board, according to Ibrahim, Kids in Tech’s CEO.

“I was shocked,” she said of her group’s selection. “We are a small, start-up organization. A lot of the others that won are established groups, so it meant a lot that they thought our proposal was so good.”

Read More > “Lowell-based Kids in Tech expands STEM opportunities”

Interview with Bryan Vermes Senior Manager, Employee Experience and Social Impact at Mimecast

Blog Post | October 23, 2020

Hi guys! This is Jael Whitney, volunteer for Kids in Tech. For Cybersecurity Awareness Month and #MassSTEMWeek, I’m going to be talking to professionals all across the cybersecurity industry about the future of STEM. Today, I’m interviewing Bryan Vermes, Senior Manager, Employee Experience and Social Impact at Mimecast, a company that provides cloud cybersecurity services for email, data & web.

Credit: Bryan Vermes

Hi Bryan! Can you tell us more about your background in cybersecurity?

I have grown up in the Greater Boston area, with the privilege of being able complete both my undergraduate and MBA degrees at Suffolk University. Starting out at City Year, a Boston-based non-profit, I’ve had a deep appreciation for non-profit work and supporting our communities. In my role today, at Mimecast, I am able to lead many of our North American corporate social responsibility programs. Additionally, I support internal communications, diversity and inclusion, employee engagement surveys, and new employee onboarding.           

I’ve been working in the cybersecurity industry for slightly over three years. I love it, because you get to be surrounded by purpose-driven people that are committed to the common good. At the end of the day, we’re here to ensure that all members of our community can safely enjoy their digital world. On top of that, working in technology comes with working alongside incredibly creative minds that are always challenging you to think of new solutions.

Read More > “Interview with Bryan Vermes Senior Manager, Employee Experience and Social Impact at Mimecast”

Interview with Kathy Kountze, CIO at Eversource Energy

Blog Post | October 22, 2020

Hi guys! This is Jael Whitney, volunteer for Kids in Tech. For Cybersecurity Awareness Month and #MassSTEMWeek, I’m going to be talking to professionals all across the cybersecurity industry about the future of STEM. Today, I’m interviewing Kathy Kountze, CIO for Eversource Energy.

Credit:Kathy Kountze

Hi Kathy! Can you tell us a bit about your background with cybersecurity?

I am the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for Eversource Energy. Eversource is an energy company, with 8,000 employees, that provides gas, electric, and water services to 4 million customers across New England. I have been the CIO at Eversource Energy for 10 years, where I am responsible for the company’s technology areas, including cybersecurity. We have approximately 1000 information technology employees in our department who provide technology support for Eversource. 

I have been heavily involved in cybersecurity since the early 2000’s when it started to be a critical function within IT organizations to address security risks within companies. Much has changed since then with cybersecurity events happening almost daily to companies all over the globe.

Awesome! What do you love most about cybersecurity?

I enjoy assessing the cybersecurity risks and challenges and working with my security teams on minimizing those risks and protecting our company. Our company keeps the power on in homes and businesses, provides warmth through gas heat when it’s cold outside and makes sure people get clean water all day, every day. Keeping our company and other important companies, like banks and hospitals, operating by protecting them from cyber security breaches and hacks is very rewarding. The services we provide are critical for people to have productive, comfortable lives. I enjoy being a part of ensuring that happens for all of our customers.

Read More > “Interview with Kathy Kountze, CIO at Eversource Energy”

Interview with Wendy Willner, Security Technical Specialist at IBM

Blog Post | October 21, 2020

Hi guys! This is Jael Whitney, volunteer for Kids in Tech. For Cybersecurity Awareness Month and #MassSTEMWeek, I’m going to be talking to professionals all across the cybersecurity industry about the future of STEM. Today, I’m interviewing Wendy Willner, Security Technical Specialist at IBM.

Credit: Wendy Willner

Hi Wendy! Can you tell us a bit about your background in Cybersecurity?

Hi! I’m Wendy Willner. I graduated in 2017 from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering! After graduating, I took an exciting opportunity to work for Boeing in San Antonio, Texas. While I enjoyed my time at Boeing, in March of 2018 I took an exciting opportunity to join IBM. I’m currently working at IBM in our Cyber Security organization. I am focused on assisting our clients in deploying Cybersecurity software and maturing their Cyber Security posture.            

I have been working in Cybersecurity for two years and I LOVE IT. I really enjoy that the field is always evolving, meaning there are always new and exciting things to learn and challenges to solve. Additionally, it’s extremely gratifying to know that I am helping teams “Stop the Bad Guys.”

Read More > “Interview with Wendy Willner, Security Technical Specialist at IBM”

Interview with Maria Lewis Kussmaul, Founding Partner at AGC Partners

Blog Post | October 20, 2020

Hi guys! This is Jael Whitney, volunteer for Kids in Tech. For Cybersecurity Awareness Month and #MassSTEMWeek, I’m going to be talking to professionals all across the cybersecurity industry about the future of STEM. Today, I’m interviewing Maria Lewis Kussmaul, Founding Partner at AGC Partners.

Credit: Maria Lewis Kussmaul

Maria, a Co-Founder and Partner at AGC Partners, leads the firm’s investment banking efforts in the IT security sector. A recognized domain expert, Maria is a frequent contributor to industry events, panelist/presenter at the RSA Conference, Member of Massachusetts Governor’s Cybersecurity Strategy Council, Security Innovation Network (SINET) Advisory Board Member, Naval War College Roundtable Participant and has facilitated numerous “Blue Sky” strategic planning sessions with leading security teams. Prior to co-founding AGC, Maria was a co-founder, general and venture partner of Castile Ventures, a seed and early stage venture capital firm. Maria’s early Wall Street career spanned three firms – Smith Barney, Shearson Lehman and Cowen & Co., culminating as global head of Cowen’s data networks & Internet investment banking activities. Working for nearly 40 years as a sell-side equity analyst, venture capitalist and investment banker, Maria has advised on hundreds of telecom equipment, networking, Internet and security transactions. Previously, she was named to the Institutional Investor All-American Research Team for 13 consecutive years. Maria holds a B.A. in Economics from Rutgers University, an M.B.A. from Wharton School of Business and a Chartered Financial Analyst designation. She was the 2013 recipient of the Boston Joseph Wharton Award.

Maria is a Trustee and Vice Chair of the board of the Museum of Science (MoS) in Boston, MA, and Chair of the Museum’s Discoverers’ Committee. She is also a member of the Board of Advisors to Boston Baroque.

A former marathoner, Maria now restricts her running to shorter distances and is a women’s running coach with 261 Fearless, a global women’s social running network. She has adopted the annual Washburn Climb of Mt. Washington, New Hampshire’s highest peak, as her chief fundraiser for MoS. Maria and her husband Wes are empty nesters and reside in Boston, MA.

How long have you been involved in Cybersecurity? What do you enjoy about it?

I have been involved in Cybersecurity as an investor or advisor for more than 25 years.  I enjoy the dynamics of the sector.  It is the only IT sector with an adversary and tends to attract sincerely mission driven professionals.

Read More > “Interview with Maria Lewis Kussmaul, Founding Partner at AGC Partners”

Interview with Akshay Bhaskaran, Senior Cybersecurity Engineer at Visa

Blog Post | October 19, 2020

Hi guys! This is Jael Whitney, volunteer for Kids in Tech. For Cybersecurity Awareness Month and #MassSTEMWeek, I’m going to be talking to professionals all across the cybersecurity industry about the future of STEM. Today, I’m interviewing Akshay Bhaskaran, Senior Cybersecurity Engineer at Visa.

Credit : Akshay Bhaskaran

Tell me about yourself and your passion for Cybersecurity!

I got my undergrad in Information Technology from India, after which I came to the US to get my Master’s in Cybersecurity from Northeastern University, Boston. With good technical knowledge and hands-on experience in the field, I did two internships (or research work) focusing on different domains of Cybersecurity. Now, I am working as a full-time cybersecurity engineer in a fin-tech company.

I’ve been in this field for almost 6 years now, and I’m always passionate and excited about what I do. One great thing about Cybersecurity is you can choose a career path aligned with your interest. If you’re a person who likes to break things, you can be a red-team person focussing on how to break (or attack or bring down) the assets, and if you’re one who loves to secure things and respond to any breakage, you can be the blue-team guy. But, there are more than what a red- or blue-team plays in Cybersecurity, and the widespread opportunities in this field makes it a “hot” one in today’s fast growing world.

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Creating STEM Environments for Women to Thrive: Olu Ibrahim

Blog Post News Article | October 9, 2020

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Olu Ibrahim, Founder & CEO of Kids in Tech

1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

As fundraising becomes more professionalized, as a collective, our industry [the non-profit industry] is neglecting the human element of the work we do. Rarely do we have the opportunity to attend professional development workshops that invite us to step back, explore and embrace our humanity. We must center, explore and embrace our humanity in fundraising. Fundraising for social change is about a lot of heart work. It is the heart work that will change our world for all. I too love data and the information it provides but let us keep that in mind.
 
It’s so easy for women to get in that space where you’re just everything to everyone all the time. We should be telling women and girls to take care of yourself, because that way, you’ll have more to give to those around you.

2. What is your current greatest professional challenge?

My greatest professional challenge has always been to make sure my staff and board have meaningful opportunities for them to grow and learn.  Speaking of growth, growing our organization so we can serve more kids especially during COVID-19 and beyond is also a huge challenge. 

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Kids In Tech Named Partner of Massachusetts STEM Week 2020

Press Release | October 7, 2020

Nonprofit Delivering After-School STEM Programs is Honored to Lead Cybersecurity Challenge for Students Across Massachusetts

LOWELL, MA, (October 7, 2020)Kids in Tech, the STEM education nonprofit that strives to excite, educate and empower nextgen leaders of the innovation economy, has been named a partner of the third annual Massachusetts STEM Week 2020 (STEM Week). 

STEM Week will take place this year from October 19 – 23, 2020 through a mix of virtual and in-person events, lessons, speaker panels, and design challenges highlighting the opportunities that exist in science, technology, engineering, and math. Organized by the Executive Office of Education and the STEM Advisory Council, in partnership with Massachusetts’ 9 Regional STEM Networks, MSW 2020 represents a statewide effort to boost the interest, awareness, and ability of all emerging learners in STEM. 

Kids in Tech has been selected as an organizational partner to host a cybersecurity challenge that aims to deepen students’ understanding of the architecture of the internet, and how it is designed to withstand both physical and electronic attacks. Some topics of focus will include online safety, securing the ‘internet of things’, career opportunities, and cryptography.

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Gratitude Report FY19

Annual Report | September 15, 2020

At Kids in Tech, we call our Annual report the Gratitude Report because we are grateful:

  • Grateful for the hundreds of donors and volunteers passionate about ensuring kids get access to high quality technology education in the after-school setting.
  • Grateful for our community partners working to make a difference.
  • Grateful for our team of experienced staff, volunteers, and donors who ensure all kids see a clear pathway to the tech industry earlier in their educational trajectory.

Trahan Talks Tech

News Article | November 26, 2019

By Nicole DeFeudis, Staff Writer for The Lowell Sun

FROM THE LOWELL SUN » For young students in the after- school Kids in Tech program, meeting Rep. Lori Trahan was encouraging, said Founder Olu Ibrahim.

Trahan spoke with around 10 Kids in Tech participants at the Coalition for a Better Acre on Nov. 6, about her experience as the only female executive at a private sector tech company, then fielded questions about her job in Congress.

“ It makes it more real, more tangible, everything that they’re learning … It makes it more exciting,” Ibrahim said of Trahan’s visit.

Kids in Tech, a Lowell- based provides afterschool STEM programming for about 70 students at three city locations. Kids meet once or twice per week to learn everything from graphic design to typing to robotics, Ibrahim explained. This year, they are building computers, which they will later learn to code and play games on.

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Congresswoman Lori Trahan visits students at Coalition for a Better Acre with the Kids in Tech after-school Tech Club Program

Press Release | November 7, 2019

LOWELL – On Wednesday, November 6, Congresswoman Lori Trahan (D-MA-03), joined Kids in Tech to speak on her experience as a tech executive and learn about the Kids in Tech STEM afterschool programming at Coalition for a Better Acre.

“As a member of the Education and Labor Committee, and as a former tech professional I’m so impressed by programs like Kids in Tech, and their mission of making STEM education more accessible to students in our district,” said Congresswoman Lori Trahan. “It’s vital that we show our kids that tech careers are in their reach, especially since we know that implementing STEM education early on leads to great paying jobs that are right here in our own backyard.”

The students shared with the Congresswoman what they’ve done so far in Tech Club, including building their own computers. They were excited to ask questions about Congress and what her job entails, including traveling to Washington D.C. on behalf of the district.

Read More > “Congresswoman Lori Trahan visits students at Coalition for a Better Acre with the Kids in Tech after-school Tech Club Program”

Top Of The Class: Mass STEM Week Gets Kids Excited About STEM

Podcast | October 20, 2019

Under the Radar with Callie Crossley

Listen here:
https://www.wgbh.org/news/science-and-technology/2019/10/19/mass-stem-week

Most jobs these days require at least some skill in the fields of STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Classes in STEM education are integrated in K-12 curriculum across the country and here in the Bay State. That’s why for the second year in a row, Massachusetts has instituted a week-long initiative aiming to get kids excited about STEM with a long term goal of building a pipeline of skilled workers ready to join the ranks of its growing STEM workforce. Mass STEM Week includes a variety of special events and activities organized by participating schools and STEM outreach organizations.

Guests:

Lisa Freed – STEM Program Manager at the Bedford-based robotics company, iRobot. Lisa is an engineer and a 2017 Women Worth Watching award winner.

Andrew Deschenes – Associate Mechanical Engineer at iRobot.

Olu Ibrahim – Founder and CEO of the Lowell-based organization, Kids in Tech, which partners with schools to provide after-class STEM activities to students ages 8-14.

How Kids in Tech Teaches Lowell-Area Children About Computer Engineering

News Article | October 12, 2019

By Rowan Walrath Staff Writer for BostInno

Traffic between Cambridge and Lowell was so bad that I nearly didn’t make it to Kids In Tech’s after-school program. By the time I arrived, just a few elementary schoolers were in the space, scattered across a wooden floor, poring over blueprints for Piper Computer Kits.

But even by 5:30 p.m. on a weekday, the enthusiasm hadn’t waned. As soon as I stepped in the door, a 9-year-old girl, wearing a giant pink bow around her small black ponytail, bounced right up to me.

“Can you help me?” she asked.

I agreed and kneeled down next to her blueprint, trying to figure out which of the many green cords tangled together in the Piper kit was the correct one to attach to the Raspberry Pi she was building. 

This girl, Frances, is one of dozens of kids who meet every two weeks at Coalition for a Better Acre in Lowell. They’re all part of Kids in Tech’s after-school program, designed to get the children of the Merrimack Valley interested in STEM, with a particular focus on computer science and engineering, while they’re still young.

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