Army Officer Blazes Trail in Online Cybersecurity Program

March 15, 2021

Becky Borrebach
Online Master of Science in Cybersecurity (GT ’21)

Becky Borrebach has a unique opportunity to be a role model for women, especially those interested in STEM, when she officially finishes the Online Master of Science in Cybersecurity degree program at Georgia Tech in May.

The U.S. Army captain will be among the first women, if not the first, to graduate from the program, which started in 2019.

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Borrebach has a penchant for challenging herself – she graduated in 2013 from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and now operates in two primarily male-dominated professions: the military and cybersecurity.

One similarity between the U.S. Army and Georgia Tech that Borrebach has seen is that both organizations want the best people, regardless of gender.

“If you show up, and you have something to contribute, people want you on the team – that’s  been my experience and has allowed me to thrive,” said Borrebach.

Borrebach has had a variety of information technology jobs and postings and is now stationed in Hawaii as an information systems engineer for the 25th Infantry Division. Her next assignment will be helping modernize the U.S. Army’s central human resources infrastructure, located at the Pentagon.

The data analytics course in her graduate program was one of her favorites and she thinks it – along with her focus in the policy track – will position her well to tackle data cleaning and cybersecurity policy issues in her new assignment.

“When I was an undergrad, I always tried to think about how I would apply my education when I started my career. Now, what I learn in grad school I can apply right away on the job, whether it’s as a manager or on the technical side,” Borrebach said.

The Cornwall, New York native is currently in her OMS Cyber capstone course analyzing different cybersecurity frameworks and determining which ones apply best to cloud technology models.

“Generally, when you apply anything to a network, you have to put a policy in place and have to come up with standards,” she said.

“Lots of organizations are adopting cloud computing and shifting away from older models where a lot of IT infrastructures were localized. There’s a host of issues that come with this type of change, and one thing I’m looking at is how organizations determine who to trust and what type of agreements they make with third parties to secure their data.”

Borrebach has used the online learning format to make the most of her graduate experience and has been blown away by the level of talent among her classmates and the intellectual discussions within the study forums. 

As for being that role model: “Women role models are important in the Army and for STEM too. They can be incredibly influential. If I could be a role model to someone then, wow, I think I’ve made it.”

OMS Cyber is the 3rd and latest online grad program that Georgia Tech offers, and it has enrolled more than 1,000 students to date. Georgia Tech’s new School of Cybersecurity and Privacy, in its first year, is bringing together the institute’s various degree programs in these areas and developing new degrees and training to meet the need for cybersecurity talent.

RELATED: Interactive Visualization of Women of Cybersecurity and Privacy at Georgia Tech

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U.S. Army Capt. Becky Borrebach pictured with her husband and U.S. Army Capt. Drew Borrebach in Hawaii.

Contact: Joshua Preston, Research Communications Manager, College of Computing