October 30, 2020

Alumna, COO Scales Cybersecurity Career

Megan Carter Shepherd ’94 double majored in math and computer science while also breaking records for the Mary Washington swim team. She’s now the COO of SimVentions, an engineering services company in Stafford.

Megan Carter Shepherd ’94 double majored in math and computer science while also breaking records for the Mary Washington swim team. She’s now the COO of SimVentions, an engineering services company in Stafford.

Throughout her four-year college career, Megan Carter Shepherd ’94 broke records with the Mary Washington swim team, winning championships and earning a top spot in the Capital Athletic Conference.

“Cybersecurity wasn’t even something that was discussed when I first graduated,” Shepherd said of her field, which employs only about 20 percent women, according to Cybersecurity Ventures. “Now it’s at the forefront of everything.”

But Goolrick Pool wasn’t the only place she made a splash. Double majoring in math and computer science, Shepherd dove into numbers, equations and formulas – expertise she relies on in her new role as chief operating officer of SimVentions. The Stafford-based engineering services company counts the Navy, Marine Corps and NSWC Dahlgren as customers. Protecting clients’ data, assets and information is more important than ever, she said, since many organizations have shifted to telework due to COVID-19.

She encourages those beginning their careers to secure a cybersecurity certification, like the one UMW introduced last fall. She also recommends finding a mentor and establishing relationships with professors like the ones she found at Mary Washington. Read more.