When Brittany Weinstein was a college sophomore specializing in U.S. Intelligence Studies, she took a course that would change the trajectory of her career.
More than a decade had passed since the 9/11 attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C., yet many people were still nervous. And when they thought of terrorism, they conjured images of another massive incursion on U.S. soil.
But Weinstein’s professor at Florida State University had a different concern.
“The next 9/11 will be a cyber 9/11,” she remembers him saying. “There will be something catastrophic and devastating in cybersecurity that’s going to overwhelm the world.”
That prediction made a big impression on the 19-year-old Weinstein, who wanted to use her skills and intelligence to make a difference in the world. Almost immediately, her focus shifted from counterterrorism in the physical realm to the emerging threat in the virtual one.
Before applying to Georgetown, Weinstein researched several graduate programs in cybersecurity. Some were highly technical; others were more strategic. Georgetown combined both aspects of the field using a more comprehensive and holistic approach.
She also liked that most of the faculty at Georgetown were practicing professionals.
“Not only are they actually working in the field, but they are doing tremendous work in the field,” Weinstein says. This is a plus for networking, “but also for what they can teach you in terms of real-world experience. That’s not normal for a master’s degree program.”
Weinstein graduated in 2021, four months after accepting a position as a Cybersecurity Senior Associate at KPMG, one of the world’s largest global consulting firms. As a junior woman in cybersecurity, she is a rarity in an endeavor whose very success requires input from multiple perspectives.
“I’m a promoter for all diversity in the workplace,” Weinstein says, “but I take it upon myself to specifically try to help bring women into the picture.”