CIS Department Pushes for Diversity Among Cybersecurity Professionals at Top Industry Conference

CIS student Jordan Jacobson Speaking at FAST Meeting

Jordan Jacobson wants change in an industry that depending on the report, women are underrepresented between 80 and 90 percent. The percentages get worse each rung of the corporate ladder and she is ready for change.

Jacobson, a CIS student at Cal Poly Pomona’s College of Business Administration, trekked north to San Francisco with former department chair and alumnus, Dr. Dan Manson, for the RSA Conference where the duo represented half of a panel addressing a lack of women and minorities in the cybersecurity profession.

The RSA Conference spanned four days while drawing more than 50,000 of the internet’s top protectors with attendees also including high-profile guests like actress Tina Fey. When Jacobson took the stage, she was alongside EY’s southeast region cybersecurity lead and the chief information security officer for Unisys.

Topics like cryptography and the most dangerous hacker attacks commanded the schedule during the conference. The origins of the session titled “How to Create a Truly Diverse Cyber-Workforce” began long before the dialogue on a prevalent problem opened.

For inclusion in the San Francisco conference, Jacobson and Manson entered a presentation outline that was ultimately chosen from more than 2,000 submissions. Manson said having a prominent presence among the best in information security exemplifies Cal Poly Pomona as a national leader in the community.

In fall 2016, Jacobson enrolled as a Computer Information Systems then became involved with the Forensics and Security Technology (FAST) club for two years. During her final year of membership, she served on the executive board as vice president of communications, helped put on a Capture the Flag event for students at a Las Vegas high school and held a summer internship in the cybersecurity department of Caesar’s Entertainment Corporation. Her role on the panel was providing the perspective of a female breaking into a male-dominated profession.

Manson’s time at the CBA began as a student in 1981. He earned an MSBA in EDP Auditing then began teach shortly thereafter before becoming a full-time professor in 1992. He has been a longtime proponent of turning cybersecurity competitions into a sport with a backing comparable to NCAA Division I football and basketball. He has invested countless effort in encouraging a diverse cybersecurity workforce.