Big Thoughts

Discovering a Passion for Cyber Security

When you think about the work being done at Think Big for Kids, you know that lives are being changed, and kids see new opportunities around their career path that they have never been exposed to before. We are sharing the journey of one of our kids named June, a sophomore, who has found a passion in the tech space and a boost in her confidence.

“I wanted to join Think Big for Kids because growing up, I never had any way to put my accumulated knowledge and effort into anything. I needed an open door to be able to start getting a push or a lift into the career I’m going for,” says June. She knew that her passion for cyber security was there, but she needed a door of opportunity to open and support to do something with it.

June began her involvement in Think Big last summer by applying for her first internship with our program. She showed great interest and skills for the role and landed an internship with ReliaQuest.  “My dream career is to be a security engineer and operating systems engineer. I’m very passionate about how all the tech we use today works down to the low-level core parts that no one focuses on very much or only highly talented individuals know. People do not know the limitations of some things that may be obvious to people in this field. I also would love to be a part of the teams that work towards making security for all tech better.”

The impact of the internship led to June’s decision to apply for our Mentoring Program, in which our objective is to pair our students with someone in their career field of interest.  Since she has a passion for technology and cyber security, Think Big paired her with Joe Partlow, the CTO of ReliaQuest. They are both passionate about tech and have extraordinarily giving hearts. As Joe works with June, he has inspired her not just to elevate herself through her career but to continue to pass on the goodness of an outreached hand that has been given to her.

“My career path today since joining Think Big has increased significantly to help me get noticed and be able to enter the workforce. Many people’s opinions of me have drastically changed to positive ones ever since I joined Think Big for Kids, and I hope I can continue this upward trend,” says June. For the first time, June is on a path of hope and optimism around her career.

Joe shares, “I feel I can be a mentor for someone else as I have been through all the experiences that talented kids struggle with. Modern society tends to stigmatize and misunderstand when it comes to young individuals in cybersecurity and tech in general. The cybersecurity industry, and even tech as a whole, has a serious depression problem that is never talked about enough. Many individuals get severely discouraged in this field and end up switching career paths despite being able to contribute substantially. There’s a major lack of workforce for tech jobs, but many people are discouraged and never pursue the path.”

June has been working hard and was accepted for a second internship at ReliaQuest this summer. “Interning and working at ReliaQuest has been a goal of mine because I had a cybersecurity teacher who’s a big fan of them. The company has positions that I’m very interested in. I feel I can significantly impact security at ReliaQuest, and I hope I can make others see that.”

June’s hope for the future is inspiring to see and Think Big is grateful to take part in her journey.  We are excited to see her mentor relationship grow and people rooting for her success, as her story continues to unfold!

thank you

to our Partner Companies

Founding Partners

Boys & Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay
Haneke Designs
JDP Electric
Reliaquest
Tribridge

Partners

Bank of America
DXC Technology
DXC Technology
HCSO
nielsen
nielsen
Roger West
Roger West
Tampa General Hospital