Kimberly Hood: Making Confident Decisions

Kimberly Hood worked 10 years as a programmer and analyst before changing gears to stay at home and raise her two children. During her professional absence, cyber security concerns in the corporate world grew nearly as quickly as her children. “I then re-entered the work force and felt like I had to play catch-up for a couple of years with my career. I worked in desktop support and system administration for a while and then data security. I felt like I needed more relevant training and a refresh on my credentials in the industry.”

Read her story…

cybersecurityNow the Manager of Desktop Support and Data Security at Unitil, Kimberly chose to expand her knowledge by earning a Graduate Certificate in Cyber Security with a Power Industry Focus. “The opportunity to attend this program at WPI came along at just the right time for me and has helped immensely. I am more able to add value to my team at Unitil, more confident in my decisions, and have new resources and contacts to draw on when I need to. It has actually been uncanny how what I am learning goes hand-in-hand with my daily responsibilities. I feel like I am building the foundation underneath my current knowledge and experience in cyber security. I was already aware of most of the industry best practices, but now I am able to better understand the technical reasoning behind them and use that to make more informed decisions.”

Kimberly attributes a great deal of her positive experience to her professor, Richard Stanley. “He shared his real-world experiences and vast knowledge of the subject with the class in a way that was interesting and highly relevant. He was engaging, patient, generous with his time and approachable.”

Challenging assignments also motivated Kimberly. “The highlight of the course for me was the opportunity to work on a large research project with my counterparts at a utility in Pennsylvania. We wrote a paper and gave a presentation reviewing several Vulnerability Assessment Tools and the risks and benefits of applying them to Energy Management and SCADA systems. We were able to cover a lot of ground on the topic by working together, and I enjoyed hearing their perspectives and learning from their experience.”

In her role at Unitil, Kimberly provides direction and technical leadership of the desktop team, as well as tracks and supervises MA Privacy, Department of Homeland Security, NCCCIC, and other cyber-security compliancy programs for the company. Her most important role, however, is as mother to her 19-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter. “Everything that I do, I do for them – to be an example to them, to provide for them, to prepare them for the future. Before I started this program, I asked about the workload and was told to expect to spend 15-20 hours a week on class time and homework. This was pretty daunting to me, to be honest, on top of a full-time job and home and family to care for.”

So how did she manage it? “My advice would be to just take it one week at a time. I fell into a rhythm that worked well with my schedule. Yes, it took time and hard work, but I gained a sense of pride and a feeling of accomplishment that is more than worth it.”



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