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“If not for my experience at TCC, I would not be where I am today”

Tania Golden Beldy has always been interested in criminal justice and the law.

But after the news reported the new doll she bought for her daughter had been hacked, her attention focused on the lack of internet safety laws and how this could affect her family.

“I decided to be part of the solution when I heard consumer safety groups blowing the whistle on these new tech toys as a possible gateway to criminal behavior,” Beldy said.

“My time at TCC completely influenced my decision to pursue cybersecurity law. The courses were well-designed and offered the framework for the work I’m doing,” she said.

Tania Golden Beldy at TCC’s Chesapeake Campus.

Beldy, 52, chose Tidewater Community College because of the positive feedback about the Cyber Security program and the knowledge and experience of the professors.

About TCC’s Cyber Security programs

Since its inception, TCC’s network security/cybersecurity curriculum has been aligned with national standards for cybersecurity established and maintained by the National Institute for Standards and Technology and the National Security Agency (NSA). 

TCC’s is designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defensefor Two-Year schools by the NSA and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

For Beldy, her future became clear just two semesters into the program. Having already earned a bachelor’s, she realized after talking to Professor Rob Guess that a master’s in cybersecurity law was the perfect option.

A new beginning in law

Beldy was accepted into the online graduate cybersecurity law program offered through the University of Maryland Frances King Carey School of Law.

“One of the greatest assets TCC offers is their professors. Through the years, I have noticed a decline in genuine interest, access and personal support during the academic experience,” Beldy said. “This was the total opposite at TCC. I felt as though the professors were genuine and personally vested in their students’ successes.  If not for my experience at TCC, I would not be where I am today.”

Beldy, who will complete her master’s this May, works part time at a law firm while completing her capstone project that focuses on legislative advocacy and the legal loopholes that continue to leave users vulnerable.

“Today the internet is available to every person 24/7 with truly no option but to utilize it for daily life. It has become the new ‘wild west,’ where no one is safe,” Beldy said. “Like many other industries such as health care, the internet needs stricter legislation to protect us.”

Ready for a new career

Beldy hopes to work in the field of legislation and public policy with a focus on internet user protections and the responsibility of internet service providers and tech companies. She would also like to work in a corporate setting, acting as a liaison between the tech department and creative teams.

“TCC gave me the technical knowledge and empowered me to move toward a new career,” she said. “My family also provided much needed support, and it has been most rewarding to be able to prove to my children that it’s never too late.”

Beldy and husband Steven have a blended family of eight children, three dogs and a bird. In her free time, she enjoys painting, cooking and gardening.

Navy veteran on the road to success with cyber security degree

When Navy veteran Shawn Goodwin retires from his 9-to-5 job in 13 years, he and wife Karen plan to hit the open road in their RV to see small-town America. “We want to travel all over the U.S. and see landmarks, beaches, mountains, streams and everything but the big cities,” he said.

Thanks to earning his associate degree from Tidewater Community College in December, he’ll have the income to support his travels. His Associate of Science in Information Systems Technology with a concentration in Cyber Security will enable him to do cybersecurity work while he’s on the go.

“I see myself working sporadically during the day as required, to keep an income stream with enough to fund our adventures,” he said.

A self-described computer nerd, Goodwin, 42, was a Senior Chief electronics technician when he retired from the Navy. He served 20 years and completed tours around the globe and a stint in Antarctica supporting the National Science Foundation.

“That was my favorite tour!” he said. “I provided tech support for the portable and high-frequency radios used to communicate around the continent.”

After the military, Goodwin found work as an information technology program manager for Navy contractors. He enrolled at TCC because of the quality of the cyber security program with its designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense by the National Security Agency.

“TCC fit my work schedule,” he said. “The flexibility of the classes and the adult learners in class with me at night made it an excellent experience.”

Goodwin meshed well with his cyber professors, particularly Rob Guess, director of cyber security, who he calls a super nerd. “I’m about his age, and I just get him. He’s extremely smart and knows his stuff.”

Using his GI Bill, Goodman earned his TCC degree debt-free.

The father of three children, Goodwin is encouraging his youngest to enroll at TCC. “I see kids struggling with classes and I encourage them to keep their minds on their studies.”

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