Sarah Lachance EMCS ’20 Awarded CrowdStrike’s NextGen Scholarship

Sarah Lachance EMCS ’20

The Crowdstrike Foundation recently awarded Sarah Lachance, EMCS Class of 2020, its NextGen Scholarship—an award for future leaders demonstrating excellent academic records and a passion for a career in cybersecurity or AI.

Sarah is a Director in the Global Cybersecurity organization at Liberty Mutual Insurance Group. Her team provides solutions that enable Cybersecurity Risk and Compliance Analysts to assess and track issues, controls, and policy. Arriving at a career in security through software engineering—and equipped with an undergraduate and graduate degree in English Literature—she is looking forward to rounding out her collection with an Executive Master of Cybersecurity from Brown.

When asked about how the EMCS program has supported her goals, Sarah shared,

The courses in this program are taught and sequenced in a way where foundational knowledge in one area informs choices and insights in another. I’ve developed greater understanding of domestic and international regulation, law, and policy and how that shapes and informs the technology we acquire, build, and develop to support our day-to-day business. Coursework in global privacy and cyber regulation has practical application when looking at cryptographic solutions, international standards, and global market considerations. All of this knowledge is critical in my role in the Global Cybersecurity organization for an international company.

Why Brown’s EMCS program?

When I was looking at options, there was a tremendous amount of variety. Many focused on specific technical aspects of security, and many specialized in areas like Risk and Compliance. I wanted a program that gave me the breadth and depth needed to lead in this industry.  In addition, the combination of online learning, in-person residential sessions, and the cohort model which aligned me with a core group of classmates for the duration of the program were all plusses. I’m also fortunate to have had direct insight from our CISO, Katie Jenkins, as an advocate for—and graduate of—the program.

For me, a prime benefit of any master’s program has to be the network and people you meet throughout your study; I have already benefited tremendously from my connections. I have gained insight into challenges and cybersecurity considers across multiple industries, disciplines, public and private sectors that I would never have gained without this program.  The faculty, staff, and guest speakers have been multidisciplinary and top notch.

Excerpts from her award-winning CrowdStrike essay:

The biggest weakness currently exploited by hackers, cybercriminals, and nation-states is not technical, but human – but it is enabled and can be mitigated through technical means. As a result, personal data protection, awareness, and privacy is the paramount issue of our time.

We both willingly and unknowingly give away so much information on a daily basis – our locations through phones, our friends, family, relationships and photos through social networks, our hopes, fears and questions through our Google searches, and our DNA blueprints through genealogy and healthcare services. Information that was individually known is out for anyone in the world to discover. The result is that others – businesses, nation-states, and cyber criminals – now know us better than we know ourselves.

Criminals and foreign adversaries can use the same techniques and profiles used successfully by businesses to attract, grow, and maintain market share and customer bases to undermine, compromise, and shape the thoughts of consumers. Compromising data leaks for businesses, governments and individuals, increased polarization, election interference, the rise in mistrust of government (without a corresponding rate of skepticism for business), renders people – enabled through technology – as the biggest threat.

Sarah lives in Portsmouth, NH with her partner Trevor and a pug named Moxie. When not working or studying, she serves on the board of the Seacoast Repertory Theatre, is a member of the city’s Economic Development Commission, and was just recently reelected as a Ward Selectmen, facilitating election day activities in her neighborhood.

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