The 2021 Summer Virtual Cybersecurity and IT Externship Rotation was a paid, structured two-week program, where a cohort of participants (externs) from across Arizona, including individuals with high school, community college, university, military, and non-traditional educational and workforce backgrounds, gained exposure and knowledge about cybersecurity and IT industry and career pathways. Externs learned about different opportunities and required skills across multiple industries. This program allowed externs to build and maximize their relationships with employers and receive mentorship. Externs gained real-world experience and honed in their employability skills by completing and presenting on a team research project.
This program featured lectures, presentations, and panel discussions with leading experts in the field. Use the following free resources to learn about cybersecurity and IT!
Hear what externs and employers are saying about their experience!
“I’m really grateful. This externship has opened a lot of doors and connections. For the past two weeks, I found a family from people I can actually work with one day in the future. And I want to be active with the Greater Phoenix Chamber and the externship rotation in any shape or form.” – Juricelle Omega, Extern
“The one-on-one time with the mentors has helped me a lot. It made me comfortable with asking questions and feeling more open as an introverted type of person.” – Lindsey Smith, Extern
“I’m currently studying online at UAT but reside out of state. Because of this program, I’m trying to find my way back to Arizona so I can network and build relationships with the other externs and employers. The mentor session was also a great way to connect 1:1 with the employers and ask specific questions regarding careers and job opportunities.” – Codie Mitchell, Extern
“The externship with the Greater Phoenix Chamber gave me the opportunity to learn about cybersecurity from insiders. I have had meetings with some of the presenters to find out about their pathway into cybersecurity, and I received help and tips for my career.” – Slim Beddek, Extern
“Participating in the externship afforded me the opportunity to network with mentors and other industry professionals. This gave me valuable insights and helped me to build the confidence to pursue the next steps in my career goals.” – Michael Marshall, Extern
“The speakers were so down to earth and willing to mentor and guide us in any way they possibly could, most importantly, they reassured us that there is a place in the IT and or the Cybersecurity sector for anyone who is willing to pay the price. This Externship will change lives and create legacies for some of us!” – Maria Aceves, Extern
“It was refreshing to see bright minds jumping together to help the community honing their Cybersecurity skillset. I believe the program was diverse enough that it will boost the selected candidates’ career.” – Mohamad Ghannoum, Security Engineer I, Zovio
“After years of talent acquisition involvement, this program stands out as the most unique! So fun and engaging, I learned so much from the externs and Phoenix Chamber leadership. I am excited to see what is next for programs like this.” – Victoria Thomas Senior Software Engineer, Pet Resource & Recovery at Nationwide Mutual Insurance
“Continuing to expand the Cyber/IT ecosystem in Arizona is a major objective for Governor Ducey in having Arizona viewed as the most cyber resilient state in the nation, the Chamber’s leadership is once again evidenced in moving us closer to this goal through the Externship Program. Interacting with those chosen for the program indicate the quality of talent in our state from high schools students through professionals, and their extraordinary ability to absorb advanced constructs across this spectrum of participants.” – Frank J. Grimmelmann, President & CEO, Arizona Cyber Threat Response Alliance (ACTRA), Co-Chair Governor Ducey’s Arizona Cybersecurity Team
“The program was so fun! The externs were highly engaged, deeply invested and top notch. The program was so well run by Phoenix Chamber it made participating fun, and easy. I can’t wait to do it again!” – Katy Campanini Director, Software Engineering Product Owner Nationwide Excess & Surplus/Specialty
“It was great to be able to engage with the group! Love what you’re doing with this program…” – Malcolm Harkins, CEO, Protect to Enable
“It was great to hear how far along their thinking is and the challenges they’re working through. The projects sound fascinating too. I’m amazed at the level of analysis and approach at problem solving even high schoolers are bringing. This program is all around an outstanding investment.” – Brian Johnson, Sr. Director, Information Security, PayPal
“With the growing number of cybersecurity threats becoming more sophisticated and damaging, the need for skilled cyber professionals is at an all time high. The Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation and their IT and Cybersecurity Workforce Collaboratives are helping to close the gap by developing the cyber heroes who can defend our personal and professional information.” – Teresa Varela, Director of Business Development, CompTIA
“It was a pleasure working with the externs. They are an extremely bright group with a promising future in Information Technology and Cybersecurity. I look forward to seeing them succeed in the community!” – Jeremy Mills, CyberSecurity Senior Analyst, Common Spirit Health
“Throughout the externship we had an opportunity to engage with future employees, not only showing them what we had to offer, but also giving guidance to the future of our industry.” – Alex Kremer, VP of Development eBacon
“This is a great program. The group was very engaged, and I am sure they gained valuable information from it.” – Itzik Kotler, CTO and Co-Founder, SafeBreach