Participants


2022


Alicia Marques

Alicia Marques is a network engineer with over ten years of experience in the field. Currently, she works for the Virginia Community College System in the unique role of Shared Network Engineer, where she supports the networks at three community colleges in the greater Richmond area: John Tyler (becoming Brightpoint), Reynolds, and Rappahannock. In this role she manages everything from wireless and switches to edge routers and firewalls. Prior to joining the VCCS, she worked for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, where she cut her teeth in IT as a Help Desk Agent, before being promoted to the Network Services team. She holds an Associates of Applied Science degree in Computer Networking from ECPI College of Technology and was drawn to work in IT because she enjoys solving problems and helping others. In her spare time, she is an avid knitter and enjoys spending time outdoors with her family. She resides in beautiful Williamsburg, Virginia with her husband Bill and a cat named Matilda.


Ola Gamal

I am an Associate Core Engineer at CENIC.  I have recently been  promoted to this position. I am so excited to start a new chapter in CENIC, where I can be part of the network design and automation team. I worked as Network operation Engineer at CENIC for the past 5 years during that time I was responsible of troubleshooting and maintaining L1/L2/L3 infrastructure of CENIC backbone network. Evaluating and executing network maintenance activities to upgrade or troubleshoot network issues.

I am originally from Sudan. I have lived all my life in Sudan and migrated to the US in 2017.  I attended University of Khartoum to obtain my bachelors degree in Electrical engineering. My passion to networking started after being an intern in a local service provider in Sudan. I realized how fascinating network is and how it is changing our world. From 2011 until 2016 I worked in several service providers in Sudan and Ethiopia as Network Engineer and Packed Core Engineer. I was lucky to participate in designing and deploying new networks for several companies.

I am mother of 3 year old boy, who I wish to grow curious and kind. In my spare time I love doing outside activities with my family and friends, travel and read books. 


Angela Diahkah

Angela is from the Pueblo of Jemez, a Native American community located 45 minutes Northwest of Albuquerque,  New Mexico.  She was born and raised on the reservation and is rooted in her culture and  traditions.  She is a native speaker of “Towa” Jemez Pueblo’s native language.  She is a proud alumna of the Santa Fe Indian School, an all Native American Indian boarding high school.  In 1998 she received her bachelor’s degree at ITT Technical Institute in Electronics Engineering Technology.  Angela always had an interest in electronics  / computer technology.  Her career started with phone pc support and then recruited by US Government.  In 1999 she moved to Washington DC as telecommunications systems officer supporting secure diplomatic telecommunications for American Embassies abroad.  Angela describes her career as “Jack of all trades” she has obtained a lot of knowledge to enhance her career.  She has a solid grasp of many concepts and proficient in multiple skill sets which allows her to be flexible to adapt in her career.  She also served as IT field tech before landing her position with the Jemez Pueblo Tribal Network.  

Angela currently is the Network Operations Supervisor for the Jemez Pueblo Tribal Network (JPTN).  JPTN is a newly established tribally chartered corporation who owns a new fiber optic network.  Angela manages a team of 6 technicians who are also members of the Pueblo of Jemez and native Towa speakers.  Speaking the language is a huge benefit  for the language barrier that still exists in Native American communities, this allows them to communicate with elders and to those who need clarification of today’s fast pace technology.  JPTN has installed about 500 brand new broadband wireless home networks to all of its community.  They currently are maintaining  the live network and looking forward to the next big  project which  is fiber to the home.  



Kimberly Schjang

Kimberly Schjang is an Associate Network Engineer at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, which is also her alma mater. Her IT career began to take shape during college as a Student Help Desk Technician. After graduating from UNLV with Bachelor’s degrees in Liberal Arts and Fine Arts, she continued to work in the IT field with her main focus being hardware, software and A/V support. In January of 2019, Kim returned to work for UNLV in the Network Development & Engineering department as an Associate Network Engineer.


Karen Lopez

Born and raised in Mexico, I graduated from Arizona State University in 2017 and now live in Denver, CO where I work for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory as a network automation engineer. I moved to Colorado at the beginning of the pandemic and have just started exploring the city, but I live with a miniature schnauzer and we love to go explore the mountains and being in nature. I’ve been in the automation field for a few years now and quickly realized it’s my passion as I love putting all the pieces together in order to make something better.

The next step in my career is starting a master’s program at the Colorado School of Mines this fall pursuing IT management, the program will take a year and I’m really looking forward to learning a different aspect of IT. Another passion of mine is to empower people, specifically women, to pursue a career in IT, I’m hoping with a management position I’ll be able to hire and mentor more women starting their careers.


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Kristen Beneduce

Kristen is a Security Researcher and Incident Responder at Sandia National Labs where she builds cyber technologies for national defense and hunts threats on critical networks. She transitioned to Cybersecurity with a background in New Media Arts and Business and completed an MS in Computer Science and Cybersecurity through a NSF scholarship. Kristen has since led numerous National Cybersecurity projects as a National Incident Response Team member at the Federal Reserve and as Technical Staff at Sandia. Kristen is a an OnDeck Community Builders Fellow and the founder and VP of the Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS) Silicon Valley Chapter, a community dedicated to elevating women and diversity advocates in Northern California.