Suffolk County Community College’s Talise Geer is a finalist for a prestigious Vanguard Student Recognition Award that acknowledges outstanding students who are enrolled in career and technical education programs that prepare them for professions that are not traditional for their gender. The Vanguard Award is presented annually by the NET (Nontraditional Employment & Training) Project, an initiative administered by SUNY Albany’s Center for Women in Government & Civil Society in partnership with the New York State Education Department.
Geer is one of 15 state-wide finalists for the award and pursuing a new career in cybersecurity.
Geer, a Wading River, married mom to a six-year-old daughter, was working successfully in sales after earning a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Old Westbury. But, she wanted more.
“I wanted to find a profession with job security,” Geer said, adding “and to do something I loved and with the opportunity for advancement.”
Geer researched emerging professions and settled on cybersecurity. “I needed a school offering a cyber security major, a great faculty, affordability and convenience,” she said, “Suffolk County Community College had everything I needed.”
“Talise started with very little computer knowledge, but she fought through every challenging course, and she has continuously improved substantially with each class. Talise always comes prepared for class, hands in all assignments on time, and shows enthusiasm for every topic,” said Assistant Professor of Cybersecurity Susan Frank.
“Talise fully understands the significance of a nontraditional career,” Frank said, “and she is determined and prepared to succeed in the male dominated field of information technology. Cybersecurity offers her a world of opportunity with a higher salary, quick career advancement and job security. A traditional field could not provide all of these benefits. All of her training, along with her amazing attitude and aptitude, makes Talise Geer one of the most deserving Vanguard Award nominees,” Frank said.
“I’m very thankful for the time I spent at Suffolk, the professors and for Professor Frank nominating me for this prestigious award,” Geer said, and also thanked all of her professors for their help in her journey.
Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs Dr. Paul Beaudin was quick to affirm Talise’s observation about the great faculty at Suffolk. “As in many of our departments at the College, we are richly blessed to have a cadre of men and women in this program who are not only scholars and practitioners, but who are dedicated to student success in the classrooms, the labs, and in experiential learning,” Beaudin said.
Geer’s next stop is the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) Cybersecurity Master’s program, having demonstrated sufficient knowledge in the courses she took at Suffolk.
Geer said that she applied to NYIT, was accepted and pleased to learn that a majority of her Suffolk courses will transfer over. “I don’t think I could have been accepted unless I had the technical background taught to me at Suffolk, Geer said. “I feel competent and prepared.”
“I hope more girls, more women transition to this field,” Geer said. It’s possible! And I hope to inspire more girls and women to enter cyber security. I’m honored and hope that a girl or woman in a seemingly dead-end job considers cybersecurity as a future career,” Geer said.