A former Meade High student with a career in military cyber operations offered straightforward advice at the school’s college and career fair last week.
Her suggestion to students is to find their passion, set realistic goals, and to work hard and “work smart.”
A 2008 graduate of Meade High School, Air Force Capt. Laneishea Taylor spoke about her background and career path at the annual event.
Shortly after graduating Meade High, Taylor enlisted in the Air Force. She has worked in cyberspace operations at the National Security Agency for about four years.
“It was a pretty easy decision for me to enter into the military,” said Taylor, 27, who is married to a cyber officer and lives off post. “My father served over 30 years and my step-father served over 25 years, each in the U.S. Army.”
Although Taylor comes from a family with a military background, she had a much bigger purpose for joining.
“Following the Sept. 11 attacks, I knew I never wanted to feel like the people around me couldn’t feel safe in their own homes or at work,” Taylor said.
“I wanted to do something where I could make a difference in the lives of all people while doing something that I knew was meaningful. It’s easily one of the best decisions I’ve made during my lifetime.”
During the event, Taylor also spoke briefly about the Cyber Patriot Program, a National Youth Cyber Defense Education Program and Competition organized by the Air Force Association.
“The program is designed to give students [the] skills necessary to excel in STEM-related career fields and to set themselves apart,” Taylor said.
“The competition portion of the program can award hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships and academic financial support to competitors.”
Additionally, she said that Northrop Grumman, the aerospace and defense technology company, offers Cyber Patriot internships in offices around the country, providing cyber security experience straight out of high school.
To achieve success, Taylor advised students to set three attainable goals: a 30-day goal, a three- to six-month goal and a one- to two-year goal.
“Every time you meet a goal, set a new one,” Taylor said. “No matter what your goal is, you can get there if you are willing to work.”
A key element in achieving success is finding “your passion,” she said, because “your true power comes from focusing on what excites you.
“If you don’t know what your passion is, realize that one reason for your existence on earth is to find it.”