Bethany Newell, a double major in computer science and information security at Marywood University, is taking part in a Security Awareness internship program with HealthEquity this summer. In her first month of the internship, Newell has been primarily engaged in cybersecurity and has participated in security assessment activities, which include penetration tests and phishing campaigns. HealthEquity is one of the nation’s largest administrators of health savings accounts and other consumer-directed benefits.
“This internship is beneficial on many levels," said Newell. “I’m grateful for the opportunity. I’m learning and experiencing more than I ever expected.”
Females are highly underrepresented in the field of cybersecurity. Women’s representation is important, because they tend to offer viewpoints and perspectives that are different from men’s, and these underrepresented perspectives are critical in addressing cyber risks.
According to an Ernst & Young report, by 2028 women will control 75 percent of discretionary consumer spending worldwide. Security considerations like encryption, fraud detection, and biometrics are becoming important in consumers’ buying decisions. Product designs require a trade-off between cybersecurity and usability. Female cybersecurity professionals can make better-informed decisions about such trade-offs for products that are targeted at female customers.
“You have to be willing to put yourself out there,” said Newell. “That’s one piece of advice I would give to incoming students. You have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Try new things, step out of your comfort zone. Marywood has a way of helping people reach their true potential.”
Michael Koscho, Assistant Professor of Practice in Marywood University's Science, Mathematics, and Computer Science department, is ecstatic to see one of his best students live up to her potential.
“She's one of the hardest working students that I've ever had,” said Koscho. “Bethany’s potential is unlimited, and I look forward to seeing how far it takes her.”
Among the two high-demand computer technology areas, computer science is the general study of everything IT-related and gives a broad knowledge of computer programming, while cyber security is the art of protecting networks, data, and devices from unauthorized access or criminal behavior. Both programs project a high rate of employment in the future with the option of corporate careers.