Meet Felicia Battle: Information Security OfficerDecember 29, 2008
This year, Felicia Battle, a 2007–08 Career Development Grantee, returned to school after six years, earning a master’s degree with a 4.0 GPA and simultaneously changing careers to work in corporate information security. After six months as a database analyst, Felicia was promoted to database security engineer at Wachovia Bank.
The master’s of information systems at Devry-Keller Graduate School was “no cake walk,” according to Felicia, who worked full time throughout the program. She said the keys to success in studying and working full time are balance, discipline, and time management. “You have to make your studies as important as other items in your day-to-day life,” she said. The grant from AAUW, which Felicia called a godsend to her academic and professional development, helped her balance all her responsibilities. “AAUW’s support helped me afford my classes and finish my degree in a shorter time frame.”
Because there are few women and minorities in the information security field, Felicia sees going back to school as a “great chance for me to open doors for other women and minorities who are interested in the field.” Having been to meetings and conferences in which she was the only woman in the room, Felicia hopes to be a role model for other women in IT. Her advice for women who want to advance in the field is, “Be assertive, ask questions, and don’t be afraid of making mistakes.”
Before returning to graduate school, Felicia held various mentoring positions, including working on an in-school academic support program that prepares students for college eligibility and success. She also worked as a mentor for pregnant high school students, providing a support system and a safe environment for the girls to grow academically.
Looking back on her experiences, Felicia stressed the importance of focusing on your strengths and the things you enjoy when choosing a career path: “Make sure that the career track you are considering is one that feeds those strengths and life pleasures,” she said.