NEWS: Investing in Future Cybersecurity Leaders

A small group of students taking notes and listening to one person talk while on a patio outside a building

By Wendy Rager and Judi Baker. Investing in cybersecurity education and mentorship is essential to keep up with the evolving threat landscape. To support current and future leaders, new programs and partnerships have been developed at UC that provide additional training, collaboration, and networking opportunities. These programs are designed to strengthen UC as an employer, as a state-wide educational system, and as a customer-facing medical centers.  

The following programs are highlighted in the newly published 2023 Cyber Security Program Annual Report. Read more about UC’s cybersecurity programs, initiatives, and people here.

UC Tech Academy Programs Grow Leaders and Build Cyber Threat Intelligence  

UC Tech Academy: Cyber Leadership Program 

In June 2023, UC launched the inaugural UC Tech Academy: Cyber Leadership Program for UC leaders designed to cultivate broad, diverse, and collaborative ways of thinking about managing digital risk. This unique program embodies the idea that cybersecurity progress means enhanced human harmonization, underscoring that it’s not solely a technological responsibility. The program aims to equip participants with a common language, a unified understanding of UC’s complex governance and management ecosystem, and a shared set of tools and skill sets for effective leadership. 

The program brought together forty UC leaders from diverse areas such as information security, privacy, legal, risk, audit, compliance, law enforcement, and public safety—areas that partner with cybersecurity to manage UC digital risk.  

“The participation pool was pretty diverse, which exposes everyone to a large set of diverse perspectives,” said Henry Jenkins, Senior Director, UC Irvine. 

Participants attended two three-day modules at the UC Berkeley campus to learn about current and emerging cybersecurity issues, negotiation, conflict resolution, communications, and strategic thinking. UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, UC executives, and industry and public sector experts taught the courses. 

“The program has exceeded my expectations, said Van Williams, Vice President of IT and Chief Information Officer, University of California. “In time, we’ll achieve UC’s goal to develop an effective, broad-based, and adaptable approach to managing digital risk that both advances UC’s mission and strengthens our position as the world’s leading social-impact university.” 

The next cohort of the Cyber Leadership Program is set for spring 2024, with details on participation forthcoming. Additionally, UCOP is excited to unveil the program’s new identity as the Digital Risk Leadership Program, effective with this new cohort. Stay tuned for more updates! 

UC Tech Academy: Applied Intelligence Mentorship (AIM) 

In early 2023, twelve Cyber Threat Intelligence (CTI) practitioners across UC had an opportunity to enroll in the first cohort of the UC Tech Academy: Applied Intelligence Mentorship (AIM), an exciting new CTI program developed in partnership with the UC Cyber-risk Coordination Center and a third-party partner. The eight-month virtual program consisted of monthly hands-on workshops and modules where participants learned about building and refining UC locations’ CTI programs, optimizing workflows, aligning CTI initiatives with business needs, and improving system-wide communication. In addition, attendees gained insight into how to immediately implement what they learned, met peers across UC with similar settings, and developed a professional network. Since taking on threat intelligence isn’t always intuitive, the program helped teach people how to better incorporate CTI in their work. 

The program’s goal is to have as many people as possible across UC understand how to leverage cybersecurity to reduce risk by staying ahead of the curve. The second cohort took place in November 2023. 

“The AIM program provided a wonderful opportunity to build relationships with others at sister UCs doing the same work, said Don Kileen, IT Security Analyst, UC Santa Barbara. “Going through with the process the team outlined has helped highlight the opportunities for improvement in how I categorize CTI-related work as well as help contribute towards those efforts at our campus.” 

A Strategic Partnership with Women in Cybersecurity 

Women are underrepresented in the cybersecurity field, both as students and professionals. As a UC core value, diversity and inclusion are paramount, so partnering with an organization that supports women in cybersecurity is a natural fit. 

The Office of the President has initiated a partnership with Women in CyberSecurity (WiCyS), a global nonprofit with nearly 8,100 members dedicated to uniting women from academia, research, and industry to share knowledge, network, and mentor others.

This strategic partnership will help UC ensure that women have opportunities to advance in cybersecurity throughout every stage of their careers, building a stronger, gender-diverse cybersecurity workforce and a more robust educational entity. 

Internship Program Grows Interest in Cybersecurity Work 

The Office of the President hired interns from different UC campuses to contribute to the future cybersecurity workforce. The interns worked on real-world projects and problems in various disciplines. They brought fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to the team and participated in multiple activities. 

Jade Gregory, a UCLA senior majoring in Data Science and Statistics, interned with the Cyber-risk Coordination Center (C3). She applied her knowledge of numbers to many projects, including solving a data mystery with the first Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act compliance report in her second week on the job. 

“Figuring out the problem gave me the confidence I needed to be successful in this position,” Gregory said. 

In her role, she also attended the UC Tech conference, contributed to the systemwide cybersecurity metrics, applied data interpretation and visualization techniques for the TDI program reports, and summarized data for the Board of Regents. 

“From the projects I worked on, I’ve become more aware of how prevalent cybersecurity truly is in our everyday lives,” said Gregory. “I have even more interest in pursuing cybersecurity now that I’ve garnered a deeper understanding of the fast-paced environment that protects and benefits the population daily.” 

Learn more 

Interested in learning more about cybersecurity initiatives, programs, results, and metrics? Check out the 2023 Cyber Risk Program Annual Report here.


Wendy Rager

Wendy Rager 
Manager, Cyber Risk Coordination Center 
UC Office of the President 

Judi Baker 
Contract Content Marketer
UC Office of the President