A fascinating academic journey from pre-med to computer forensics
Like many cybersecurity professionals today, Kimberly initially had a different career path in mind when starting her first semester in college. Starting as a pre-med major at Penn State, her vision was to become a healthcare professional. However, early in the process, she gained exposure to a computer forensics program that would change her career trajectory.
“When I was choosing my degree path, programs for computer forensics weren’t widely available, so I went to school for pre-med. I found out that new computer forensics programs were starting up, and I knew that was my true calling. No two days are ever the same, and I’ve never looked back.”
After deciding to pursue her passion for cybersecurity and transferring to DeVry University, Kimberly went on to complete her associate’s and bachelor’s degrees, where she earned the impressive title of Valedictorian. She also earned a master’s degree in computer information systems, with a specialization in computer forensics.
Today, Kimberly’s vision of becoming a healthcare professional still lives on. After building a strong tech career at Colgate-Palmolive, Kimberly made the decision to join BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company) with the title of cyber threat analyst. At BD, Kimberly actively monitors for threat activity that could impact the medical device manufacturer and uses her cybersecurity expertise to help protect healthcare’s critical infrastructure.
Now a rising star in the frontline of the healthcare sector’s cyber threat liaison team, Kimberly works with government and international bodies to protect essential services and more. A perfect crossroads between her original pre-med vision and her deep passion for cybersecurity, the move to BD enabled Kimberly to become the cyber healthcare hero she was destined to be in a time when the world needs it the most.
From mentee to mentor: giving back to help others succeed
Building a successful career in the cybersecurity industry can be a challenge. From issues facing underrepresented groups in the industry, such as a lack of exposure to STEM, to the limited number of entry-level opportunities existing for those looking to get a foot in the door, Kimberly knew that getting started wouldn’t be easy. One element that can make a difference across all of these challenges is strong mentorship.
Kimberly is not shy about expressing her gratitude to the strong mentors that made a difference throughout her career. “She took me under her wing,” Kimberly says of her current manager. “And I am so honored to work for her. She’s been my role model throughout my BD journey, and I’m extremely excited to see where it takes me.”
In an effort to pass along that same gift, Kimberly participates in a women’s working group at BD, where she also mentors other women. No stranger to going above and beyond, Kimberly had previously created and led a computer forensics group at Colgate-Palmolive that also promoted development and knowledge sharing.
Thwarting viruses on the cyber frontline of a pandemic
The ongoing global health crisis has led to increased attacks against the healthcare sector. Working in an industry that is considered an essential infrastructure for getting the world safely through the COVID-19 era means added pressure and responsibility that Kimberly takes on with enthusiasm. As a critical member of the team responsible for mitigating cyberattacks at BD, Kimberly has picked up everything from continuous dark web scanning for threats to acting as a liaison between BD, government and international bodies to protect essential services.
A bright future ahead
When asked about the future, it’s clear that Kimberly won’t be slowing down anytime soon.
In addition to picking up on more mentoring and teaching, she has a clear vision for her career. “I’m planning to continue learning through practice and gaining certifications.” Already having earned the Security+ certification, Kimberly is gearing up to obtain the CISSP next. In the journey towards her long-term goal to become a chief information security officer, Kimberly also plans to develop her management and public speaking skills, and eventually take on a management role at BD.
It’s this demonstration of drive, determination and care for others that led to Kimberly’s recent induction into the Infosec Hall of Fame.