My journey to military service started in high school when I joined the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) program. I was in the program all four years of high school and learned many life skills, most memorably the importance of college and obtaining an education that would lead to a career. After graduating high school, I enlisted in the Army National Guard knowing that I wanted to seek a career in information technology. The military offered me the ability to continue to seek that career outside of service in the future.
Within my first year of enlistment, I was deployed to Iraq for one year. During this deployment, I was responsible for the configuration and maintenance of the information systems that provided our headquarters the ability to communicate across the country to the units they commanded. I embraced the opportunity to learn from, teach, and network with other service members while successfully completing my Bachelor of Science degree in computer science.
After returning home, I was offered a full-time job with the cybersecurity office of the Department of Information Management for the California Army National Guard Headquarters. I was responsible for the configuration and implementation of information security controls that protected the sensitive information being processed for all units across California. During the four years I worked for headquarters, I was assigned to the Defensive Cyber Operations Element, where I was responsible for utilizing my experience in information security to defend and protect California’s DoD systems from malicious cyberattacks. Once again, I was offered the opportunity to learn, teach, and continue my education. I completed my master’s degree in information systems management, concentrating in information security.
As of August 2020, I officially ended my military service after 12 years of service in the Army National Guard. I joined the military with a goal and purpose and I’m happy to say that goal was achieved.
My military experience is the basis and reason I have a career at SAFE Credit Union. Everything I have learned, studied, and experienced throughout my 12 years of service directly relates to my role at SAFE. Besides IT experience, the military also taught me discipline, tact, planning, time management, team collaboration, public speaking—the list goes on. As the AVP of systems engineering and information security, I attribute my success to my military experience and all of the skills I was taught along the way.