New America Cybersecurity Fellowship – Applications open!
ISF Fellow Spotlight: Camille Stewart (North America 2021)
Schmidt Futures provided seed funding the inaugural year of New America’s #ShareTheMicInCyber (#STMIC) Fellowship, a program providing cybersecurity professionals from diverse backgrounds with an opportunity to conduct policy research and analysis, access professional development, examine critical cyber security issues, and explore questions of diversity and the human side of cybersecurity. We believe that diversity in cybersecurity is vital to national security, and are focused on investing in promising leaders reflective of our nation and global community.
Since announcing this new project in Fall 2021, New America has rapidly developed a robust program focused on supporting under-represented mid-career cybersecurity professionals through professional development, research support, and public amplification. With support from Schmidt Futures, we were able to hire a full-time staff member in mid-2022 to launch the program.
- In August 2022, our program received almost 80 applications to join our inaugural cohort. Our program aims to support mid-career professionals from underrepresented backgrounds and communities in cybersecurity, and the applicant demographics reflect our success: over half (58%) of the applicants self-identified as female or another gender minority, and over 90% of applicants identified as non-white or multiracial.
- In early November 2022, we announced our inaugural cohort of six #STMIC Fellows. Each proposed their own independent research in their applications, and our staff and advisors selected Fellows whose research infuses new perspectives or breaks new ground in cybersecurity policy. Our teaser announcements and press release about the fellows garnered the attention of media outlets such as Axios and Politico, helping further amplify the fellows and their research in the upcoming year.
- The topics and projects we selected include measuring the costs of cyberattacks and cybercrime on Black communities in the U.S., the cybersecurity challenges of AR/VR/XR technologies and its impact on national security, and mapping the global impact of spyware on civil and human rights activists and journalists. Our website includes all the research focuses of our current cohort.
- The #STMIC Fellows officially began their tenure on December 1, 2022, and as of July 2023 have attended 6 professional development workshops. These workshops are focused on strengthening research skills, personal branding, and public speaking to help prepare them as next-generation leaders in cybersecurity policy. Their work is scheduled to be published in Fall 2023, but we have already had 5 speaker appearances by our fellows, and one quoted in Axios.
What New America has built this past year and a half ground our ambitions to expand the program into 2024. Starting in Fall 2023, our Fellows will begin publishing their work through New America and engaging the public on their research, building on the skills they learned through their professional development workshops. At the same time, New America will open applications for their second cohort of fellows while pursuing additional activities towards building a more inclusive, representative next generation of cybersecurity leaders.