Duvelza Saenz is a one-woman powerhouse. As a Data and Capability Analytics Lead, she guides teams of data scientists, DevOps engineers and cyber threat hunters in the creation, integration and deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. ) for real cyber operations. Outside of work, Duvelza is dedicated to empowering women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. She is the Founder and CEO of Girl Refugees in Tech Training (GRIT), a non-profit organization that promotes inclusion, independence, and strong communities by providing women with certification training in STEM fields. She is also a core member of the San Antonio-based dating group for Women in Cybersecurity and Technology.
We spoke to Duvelza about her love of puzzles, the Booz Allen culture, and how to thrive as a woman in STEM.
How did you get into cyber?
As a child, I was always interested in different types of puzzles, especially mechanical and cryptic. I found the logic and reasoning processes to be soothing and time ticking when I worked on them. I knew I wanted to join the Navy and I served for almost 10 years. There, I had the chance to learn revolutionary technologies, which I loved. It never felt like a job to me. I have dedicated myself to understanding the landscape and providing real, real-time solutions.
What is the best part of your job?
Booz Allen’s collaborative culture gives me the chance to work closely with other enthusiasts from diverse backgrounds. We challenge ourselves to innovate and create world-class capabilities for America’s cyber-fighter. I like to feel that I have the freedom to change the world here.
What advice do you have for other women in this field?
Strengthen each other, especially in STEM disciplines. Think of emotional intelligence, like the ability to empathize, as a competitive advantage. Trust your intuition and point out risks that others may not see. When you notice that a system seems choppy, whether it’s an Agile Scrum team in a sprint, a shaky database from a denial of service outage, or a compromised collection system, talk about it and be persistent. Remember that you are in this room and at this table for a reason.
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