WCCC Cybersecurity Instructor Diana Marks was recently selected by Teach Cyber as a 2020 Cybersecurity Teacher of the Year: Pathways to Cybersecurity award winner. The award recognizes teachers for their time and dedication to teaching cybersecurity classes and developing multiple ways for students to enter or advance along a cybersecurity path.
Mrs. Marks has taught for four years at WCCC, two as a satellite Information Technology instructor at Little Miami High School, and two as a Cybersecurity instructor at WCCC when the program was first developed. She began teaching later in life after a career in IT at IBM, Dell, and Hitachi.
“After having a long and successful career in Information Technology, I wanted to help students prepare for a great career in IT/Cybersecurity themselves,” she said. “The best thing about being a teacher is watching students enjoy learning and being proud of their successes. The biggest challenge is recruiting females and minorities to the Cybersecurity program.”
She develops partnerships and networks with area businesses and individuals to bring cybersecurity professionals into her classroom and give her students opportunities to learn more about the field.
“I attend several regional symposiums and conferences throughout the year to establish relationships with Cybersecurity professionals,” she said. “Also, through the Interalliance of Greater Cincinnati, students are introduced to potential employers upon graduation as well as interning during their senior year.”
In just two years of building the program she has gotten her students involved in Business Professionals of America, Technical Student Association, CyberUp, CyberPatriot, Girls Who Code, TechGirlz, Women in Cybersecurity, National Cyber League, Cyber.org, CISCO Cybersecurity Learn-a-thon, TechOlympics, IT Expo, Miami Valley Tech Prep program, University of Cincinnati Information Technology Early College Entry, Dayton Stem Regional Capture the Flag, CyberStart, and the Interalliance of Greater Cincinnati. And, she still has more opportunities in mind for the classroom.
“In planning future educational enrichment for my students, I have cultivating the new Cybersecurity pipeline using Gamification online software as a goal of mine for next year,” she said. “Students will learn how be an Ethical Hacker, Digital Forensics Specialist, Cyber Operations Manager, and many other roles through video game educational tools. These tools not only make learning fun, but it also is competitive which is important to this generation of gamers.”
“As I have transitioned into teaching, I have had the best support I could ask for from administration, in particular (Assistant Director) Kendra Murphy, and from my co-worker/mentor, (Springboro satellite instructor) Jenifer Conard. Without their support, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I am honored to receive this award and thank all the WCCC administration staff, the board, and my co-workers for the support they have given me.”