It was one of the great thrills of my life to return to my alma mater, May 11, to give the commencement address to graduates of West Virginia University’s John Chambers College of Business and Economics. I’m a West Virginian at heart, still live in the state, and both my husband and children attended WVU. The Mountaineer ethic of hard work, grit and determination runs deep in our family, as it does in the lives of so many leaders in business, government, and industry I’ve met who got their start there.

Returning to WVU as the Assistant Secretary of CESER was timely as well, given that the University just recently launched a new Master’s Degree program in Business Cybersecurity Management, strategically positioning itself to contribute to our nation’s efforts to defend itself from growing cyber threats. Here at DOE, of course, addressing “workforce development” and the urgent need for a highly-skilled, sustainable pool of cyber professionals is a top priority. Whether they’re graduates of WVU or any of the other fine colleges or universities with outstanding cybersecurity programs doesn’t matter; our nation needs professionals to address the cybersecurity skills shortfall facing our nation. 

It’s an exciting, deeply challenging time in the life of our nation, and the next generation of young leaders and scholars will unquestionably discover, innovate, and map out new solutions and paths forward. For me, the unique honor of encouraging young WVU graduates to take their hard-earned education – and that gritty Mountaineer spirit – out into the world was something I’ll hold dearly the rest of my life. Let’s go Mountaineers!