Sisters Find Success in Denmark Tech Cybersecurity Program
DENMARK, SC – Three sisters are making their dreams of a career in IT reality and helping to change the face of cybersecurity through a unique opportunity at Denmark Technical College. Tanya Martino, Tongie Martino, and Tonia Martino Governor are 2023 workforce development graduates from the Fusion Cyber Virtual RMF Bootcamp and are preparing to test for their Security+ industry credentials.
The newly minted program is part of the four-way public-private partnership between Denmark Technical College, Fusion Cyber, Capital Business Development Association (CBDA) and Cisco aimed at promoting diversity in the cybersecurity industry.
The sisters are all HBCU graduates from Denmark Tech and Voorhees University and have worked in a variety of fields, including education, healthcare and finance, before setting their sights on a career in cybersecurity.
“One day I stumbled across a YouTube video about cybersecurity, and it was saying how there were a lot of opportunities in this field and how so many jobs were vacant. That’s what got me excited about cybersecurity. I started talking to a friend who was already in the industry, and every time he would tell me a little bit more of how I could get into cybersecurity. When he found out about this program, I was like, okay, this was actually meant for me, right? It was actually meant for me to be in this program,” said Tongie Martino.
From there, Tongie set out to get her sisters hooked on the idea of a cybersecurity career change too.
“Tongie was talking about it every day, from sunup to sundown. She was talking about how she can get into cybersecurity and all these things that she’s going to be able to do with her cybersecurity salary. She would talk about where she’s going to work and how she’ll have to study to pass the certification. It must have planted a seed. So, I decided hey, I’ll try it, if I get in, I get in and if I don’t, then I know that it wasn’t for me. I happened to get in,” said Tanya Martino.
All three sisters started the cohort last July and quickly started learning.
“The program is very fast paced, so one of the challenges for me has been to keep up with everything. I’m a special education teacher in a general education classroom, which means I’m teaching 107 students a day with 90-minute classes, but I’ve been able to find a balance and make it work,” said Tanya Martino.
“I work for a company that has some ties to cybersecurity, so it was kind of exciting to come to work and know a lot more than what I did. By taking a chance and studying for ten months, I really have acquired a lot of knowledge,” added Governor.
The sisters participated in the Denmark Technical College spring graduation ceremony and wrapped classes last week.
“It was a proud moment for me to attend the graduation at Denmark Technical College and watch four of our graduates receive their certificates. The fact that three of them were sisters was even more gratifying. As part of Cisco’s on-going commitment to social justice and workforce development, we hope to be able to continue to extend the opportunity to enter the exciting field of cybersecurity to underrepresented communities,” said Scott McGregor, Director, Social Justice Action Office, Cisco.
“Up next is to buckle down and pass the Security+ test. Cybersecurity really spans every industry, so from there, I’ll be looking at the doors this program has opened for me. I feel this program has prepared me for an amazing career in cybersecurity and I’m looking forward to a new beginning,” said Governor.
“I’m really excited to see the success the students are having. When we designed the program, one of our goals was to diversify cybersecurity by removing barriers and providing high-level training for mid-career workers. The Martino sisters are really at the heart of what this movement is all about,” added Christopher Etesse, founder and CEO of Fusion Cyber.
The program, which launched last summer, has several cohorts of a 24-week version of the course schedule that will meet two evenings a week virtually and has a for-credit associate degree in cybersecurity with Denmark Technical College starting in August.
SC Tech, the statewide technology and cybersecurity industry cluster housed within the SC Council on Competitiveness, reported the number of tech firms in South Carolina has grown 254% since 2000. With the exponential growth of cybersecurity and the influx of South Carolina technology based businesses, the bootcamp couldn’t have come at a better time.
“Fusion Cyber Bootcamp is helping increase opportunities and enabling new pathways for a diverse group of people who are now ready to pursue a fantastic career with 75% higher wages than the state average in a field that is essential to our personal, corporate and national security,” remarked SC Tech’s Director, Kim Christ.
“I strongly encourage anyone who has the interest to come and learn more about this amazing opportunity. Denmark Technical College has been thrilled with the preliminary results of the partnership. We are churning out graduates that will become leaders in the charge to diversify the technology industry. The generous scholarships provided by CBDA, Fusion Cyber and Cisco allow us to bring the program to students who may not otherwise be afforded the opportunity,” said Willie L. Todd, Jr., Ph.D., president and CEO of Denmark Technical College.
“I’m so proud that I can be a representation of African American women. I want them to know that the opportunity is out there and all it takes is just a little bit of dedication, a little bit of hard work and they can do it too,” added Tongie Martino.
Denmark Technical College is currently filling seats for the July 2023 24-week Fusion Cyber RMF Boot Camp. Interested individuals should fill out the cyber career survey at https://denmark.fusioncyber.co/survey-form/ today.
About Capital Business Development Association – Capital Business Development Association is a Virginia registered, federally tax-exempt educational 501(c)3 that focuses exclusively on supporting s government contractors in identifying opportunities and executing work in federal, state, and local markets. CBDA members represent various companies ranging from the largest systems integrators to small businesses, across all socio-economic categories. Their programs bring together government procurement and business leaders, match companies with similar capabilities to pursue opportunities, foster winning business partnerships, and sponsor activities to promote information and intelligence sharing.
About Denmark Technical College – Denmark Technical College is a two-year HBCU in rural Bamberg County, South Carolina. Denmark Tech serves over 700 students with a focus on technical career training, associate degrees, and a four-year college transfer program. Additional information about Denmark Tech can be found at www.denmarktech.edu.
About Fusion Cyber – Fusion Cyber is a leading cybersecurity education and services agency based in Washington, D.C, with the mission to educate diverse groups of learners from varying backgrounds, building a generational impact for their families while protecting businesses and the country. Their services provide leading cybersecurity risk management framework professionals that are committed to helping organizations assess risk, build resilience, defeat attacks, avoid hack vectors, and stay ahead of technological and legal policy. Additional information about Fusion Cyber can be found at https://scholarships.fusioncyber.co/.
For more information, contact Amy Roper at 803-793-5149.
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