TechGirlz TAB Members Talk Security

Written by volunteer writer Amy Freeman

Comcast Labs Connect and Techgirlz logos appear next to headshots of the women and students involved in the lightning talks

TechGirlz had a presence at the fourth annual Security by the Schuylkill Conference, presented by Comcast Labs Connect. The theme of this year’s conference was “Protect With Zero Trust,” and the goal was to share insights on emerging controls, solutions, and techniques in a collaborative environment.

Members of TechGirlz’s Teen Advisory Board had a chance to meet with August Ceretelle, a security engineer at Comcast who helps teams prioritize security, identify vulnerabilities, and strategize solutions to improve security posture.

August led the TAB members in a Zoom-based discussion of security in their schools during two Lightning Talks. The first talk featured Ava Saydam, Eesha Santosh, Rythama Chevendra, and Trevor Gardner. Sarah Ridley, Riya Lakhani, Anushka Levaku, and Julia Chan participated in the second Lightning Talk.

Each Lightning Talk started out with a brief introduction from each of the girls. They shared their interests and activities. Then, August asked them about what they are learning in school, what classes they’re taking, and their favorite part about learning.

The girls then briefly talked about career paths that appeal to them and what inspired them to get into technology and coding. During the first panel, a common theme emerged: Moms had a big influence on getting their girls into coding.

Next, the girls chatted about how their schools handle security issues. Based on what they shared, it seems many schools have a long way to go still.

For the most part, cybersecurity is kept separate from other technology classes and many of the girls’ schools don’t have particularly robust security programs. A lot of them learned about security through TechGirlz.

Finally, the girls shared what they do to protect themselves and keep their info safe. They revealed themselves to be security savvy, with many saying they use complicated passwords and change them often. They also try only to follow people they know in real life on social media and use private browsers.

View Lightning Talks Here

Congrats to the TAB members who participated. If you’re interested in joining TAB, learn more about it!