AF CyberWorx reached out to former cadets who worked with the innovation organization on campus before graduating. We caught up with two alumnae and found out what they are doing now, how their experience in AF CyberWorx influenced them, and what today’s cadets can do to better prepare for a successful future. Read our first alumna feature today.
2d Lt Emily Snyder, graduating class of 2018, and political science major, is currently a graduate student at the American University in Washington, D.C. She is studying international affairs with a focus on U.S. foreign policy and cyber security as it relates to national security. After finishing graduate school, she will become an Air Force cyber officer. While a student at USAFA, Snyder and her teammates worked together to develop a humanitarian application that would enable refugees to access information and form social networks while awaiting news of their asylum status in new countries with the goal of reducing refugee uncertainty.
Although the project was not completed before Emily graduated, she did learn a copious amount about the app development process. The AF CyberWorx project gave her the opportunity to think less in a traditional bureaucratic way, and more in a “Silicon Valley,” freeform mindset. The ability to think outside the box without penalty has immensely helped Emily with her current course load as a graduate student and as an intern at the Pentagon. While working on the project, her team collaborated with industry leaders at Pivotal Labs who elaborated on the creative process of application development. Those same connections she made at AF CyberWorx are still helping her today; Emily is working with Pivotal yet again during her internship and has been able to bridge the gap among her peers, thanks in part to the human-centered design she learned and applied in the project.
AF CyberWorx also opened Emily’s eyes to the importance of cyber security and how deep the field is. She hopes that in the future she can aid in outpacing policy with the implementation of new technology. She believes that giving the Air Force the ability to no longer need to play “catch-up” would create better mission succession rates.
Emily has a few words of wisdom for the third- and fourth-year cadets to keep in mind as they continue on their path of success within the Air Force Academy.
Be sure to focus on cyber. As the Air Force becomes more technically savvy, there will be an influx in the cyber field and positions that will need to be filled. Cyber will eventually become the new backbone of the Air Force, which is something you can gather by just seeing how much it has grown in the last 10 years. If you want to be successful within the Air Force’s cyber field, focus on what AF CyberWorx can teach you now while you’re in school, and you’ll be better prepared. On the same note of being focused on your future, be sure to pay closer attention to today’s current events…The problems you are seeing today will be the problems you need to solve in the future.
Do you have a story you’d like to share from your experience with AF CyberWorx? Tell us all about it, and you, too, could be featured on our blog. Email Jacki Stewart at firstname.lastname@example.org.