Lauren Burnell

Kingsville, TX, US
Field of Work 
Information Technology
FireEye Inc.
Job Title or "Student" 
Federal Programs/Cloud Alliances
United States Naval Academy
BS Political Science, MA Government and Politics
Education Level 
Profile Biography 
I started my ultimate STEM journey not in STEM classes - but as an arts major at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. When I decided to not pursue a performance career as a classical musician, I had to decide what was next for me after high school. I had always loved my math and science classes, and wasn't afraid of pursuing something that had technical components. Many of my formative years were after 9/11, and I felt like serving in the military was the right career path for me. I ultimately decided to attend the United States Naval Academy (USNA) in Annapolis, MD. USNA is an interesting college, because even if you are a Political Science major like I was, EVERYONE graduates with a Bachelor of Science degree and has to take courses like Calculus, Electrical Engineering, Thermodynamics, Physics, Principles of Ship Propulsion and more! I ended up falling in love with quantitative research methods, and used statistics for my political science research in both college and during my Masters degree at University of Maryland, College Park. I ended up in cyber a bit by chance - I had actually selected Navy Pilot out of college but was medically disqualified and had to change career fields. Based on my data analytics background, I was placed into the Information Warfare community, and I served 5 years of cyber, electronic warfare, and signals intelligence tours. I studied A LOT and got to learn by doing since I did not have an IT background when I started at my first cyber job. I ultimately served as a tactical operator in real world cyber defense operations and got to support both Navy and National missions. When I got out of the military, I started as a security engineer at a company that architects integrated IT solutions. I then was the Director of Federal Engineering and got to lead engineers focused not just on cybersecurity, but data center, voice and collaboration, networking, the internet of things, analytics, and even biometrics. I am now in a new role at a cybersecurity company where I am focused on cloud strategy. I love cybersecurity because we always get to be learning about something new, and our job is to fight the bad guys. I'm proof that it's never too late to start, but that early education and exposure to STEM can help girls and boys find something they are extremely passionate about and set the stage for a successful career. And with an inquisitive mind, a desire to innovate, asking questions and making people you admire your mentors, the sky is the limit!
Pets, Computing, Reading, Sports
Race & Ethnicity 
Level of Participation 
Online role model, Summer camp visit
My Experience 
I am a new Role Model.
Online Mentoring (email or Skype)
Program Affiliation 

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