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Welcome to a new episode of The Academy on ITSPmagazine.
Inspiration can come in many ways, shapes or forms — as long as your mind is open to those omens that are out there for us to grasp them.
Here at ITSPmagazine, we are always looking for inspiration, muses and revelations. It is what drives us and what usually makes for a good story to tell. For me and Selena, on a sunny Southern California morning, inspiration came in the form of four young students — Rachel, Audrey, Andrea, and Samhitha — that together make up the CyberAegis Aether, an all-girls middle school cybersecurity team from San Diego that is competing in the Cyber Patriot National Finals.
We are all well aware of the lack of diversity in STEM and in the cybersecurity industry, and as a publication we are trying to contribute to the issue; and by “contribute” we mean that we do not want to just point out that there is a problem, but we want to help find solutions to it.
Of course, we do know that diversity and inclusion is a complex issue and well rooted in our society, but we also believe that some key factors can contribute to shake the status quo and accelerate this much-needed change. We also know that it will take time, but each step forward is a success and just because something is complicated does not mean that we should give up on it. If that were the case, our society would not have evolved to what we are now — well, with all the positive and negative that comes with. So let’s keep evolving, shall we?
Weird as the title may sound, we believe that the drive needed for change is not something complicated, hidden, mysterious or magic; it may actually be inspiration itself. In other words: inspire to inspire.
In this conversation you will hear directly from these girls what motivates them to be part of this cybersecurity competition team, to train hard, and to be the best they can be. And all while being best friends, team players and looking at a future career that includes — more than anything else — helping businesses to be secure, teaching people how to be safe online, protecting people’s privacy and identity, and inspiring other young people. They, themselves, have been inspired by those who have come before them and who were passionate enough to talk to them, teach them, volunteer and be an inspiring role model to follow.
We wish them all the best for the upcoming competition and in their future career. Whether they win or not, they are winners to us!
They put a smile on our faces, motivated and inspired us to keep doing what we are doing, and make us want to try even harder.
They are driven by the upcoming competition, but helping other people is really what is motivating these young girls to be the best they can be.
To quote them: “If you can help other people to be safe, it kinda makes you feel like a superhero.” And superheroes you are, to us.
We hope you enjoy this conversation and you find the motivation to go out there, in your community, and share your passion, your knowledge, and your enthusiasm.
See you out there.