Cereda Amos joined the Department of Energy, Office of the Chief Information Officer in October of 2011 as the Joint Cybersecurity Coordination Center (JC3) Program Manager and was brought on board to work on the development phase of JC3.
Cereda Amos joined the Department of Energy, Office of the Chief Information Officer in October of 2011 as the Joint Cybersecurity Coordination Center (JC3) Program Manager and was brought on board to work on the development phase of JC3. Prior to that, Cereda was with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement where she developed the cybersecurity continuous monitoring plan. Before going back into federal service, Cereda was a consultant with MITRE serving clients at both the Department of Defense and DHS in privacy and cybersecurity. She also served as a consulting at SecureIT Consulting, providing security and technical training to government and private sector organizations. Cereda spent five years at Freddie Mac, working in auditing and information security and prior to that spent eight years at the Federal Reserve Bank, working in information security, auditing, and business development (programming). Cereda began her career with the State of Virginia serving in various roles with the State Corporation Commission, Department of Health, and Department of Mental Health.
1) What inspired you to work in STEM?
I have a degree in Human Nutrition and worked with the Women, Infant and Children’s Program, a Federally-funded program, for the State of Virginia. I got involved in computers because there was a need to replace the data entry, performed at the state penitentiary, with a desktop application that would interface with the mainframe. So I learned how to program and built the interface application between the desktops and mainframe to enable point of entry data entry.
2) What excites you about your work at the Department of Energy?
The Department of Energy is very diverse and has a lot of organizations that many things for the Department, greater government and private sector. The job that I was hired to do was to be the Project Manager for the Joint Cybersecurity Coordination Center (JC3). My past experience of being a project leader and being able to work with multiple individuals on a level that made everyone first, comfortable with what we were achieving, and more importantly being able to pull everybody in and get harmony within a group, was what led me to this project. Being here and being able to write policy and coordinate training, for security purposes, as well as developing continuous monitoring plans and other projects that will pull all of DOE together to make this a more secure environment is what excites me.
3) How can our country engage more women, girls, and other underrepresented groups in STEM?
We can engage more women, girls, and other underrepresented groups in STEM professions by educating middle school and high school Science, Technology, and Mathematics teachers on opportunities in both the private and public sector. Many schools have clubs that invite speakers to talk about their profession and encourage the students to look early at what their future choices in college studies. Plugging in early is important as it opens up the possibilities, many of which they may not even know about.
4) Do you have tips you'd recommend for someone looking to enter your field of work?
Look for opportunities to always grow, opportunities to step into a position that may not always
be comfortable but is of interest. As I mentioned, I started in nutrition, got involved with
computers, taught myself how to program, moved from there to supporting a network, was
contacted by the audit department and agreed, if they would teach me to audit I would teach
them about networks, from there got involved in training, from there went into a security. I
have always taken every opportunity even if it looked challenging and tried it, with each
opportunity advancing my career and providing me with the skills that I have and use today to
5) When you have free time, what are your hobbies?
Currently, my daughter is on a sport team that dances, spins rifles and flags, known as Winter Guard, and I am the Guard Mom. I coordinate all of the practices as well as modify uniforms and make props. When I am not involved with this sport, I enjoy sewing, making stained glass pieces, and weightlifting.