Women in STEM: Ashley Tolbert
Ashley Tolbert is the Senior Security Engineer at Netflix and a Cyber Fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. Impressive, yes, but it’s her dedication to helping other women in technology, specifically in underrepresented fields like cybersecurity, that makes Ashley a great choice to be featured in Tynker’s Women in STEM series for the month of February.
Asked in an interview with Black Tech Women how she was introduced to the world of technology, Ashley stated:
“I started my journey pretty early. My mom bought my siblings and I a computer, and it opened a window to a new world.”
After earning her Bachelor of Engineering from Auburn University, during which she completed four different computer science internships, Ashley got her Master of Science in Cyber and Information Security from Carnegie Mellon.
Fascinated by her early experiences in cybersecurity and believing it to be “one of the biggest challenges to our nation’s security,” Ashley began working as an engineer and researcher at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science laboratory operated by Stanford University.
Over the next four years, she spent the majority of her time at Stanford learning about computer forensics and cyber incident response. This led to her current employer, Netflix, where, as part of their Detection and Response Team, she investigates and analyzes incident response and crisis management to cyber attacks.
The Greater Good
And, though she’s satisfied on a personal level, she feels adamant that her field needs to be more inclusive to women and minorities. Part of the solution, she believes, is recognizing the benefits of diversity outreach, which helped her immensely, specifically the internship in Silicon Valley that introduced her to computer security.
Another pivotal moment for Ashley was her participation in the Women of Color sessions at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, where she engaged with people that had similar experiences to hers:
“I met women who fearlessly walked in their differences with a light of poise that was electrifying. It changed me.”
Making strides in uncharted tech territory, Ashley is a great example of the kind of determination and leadership that Tynker loves and a true inspiration to the next generation of girls thinking about a career in STEM-related fields.
We can’t wait to see what Ashley does next!