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UMGC Alumni AssociationUMGC Alumna Creating Her Own Path

Photo: Syed in the Capitol Hill underground tunnels.

Arfa Syed '10 recently switched from a career in automotive to aerospace joining a contract with NASA’s headquarters in 2016. Asked once how she always ends up in what are perceived to be "male-dominated" industries, Syed believes in always pursuing newly created opportunities.

“I’ve never accepted a position where I was filling someone's shoes,” said Syed. “All of the roles I've accepted in my career were newly created - where the need for some fresh ideas and new talent was desired.”

Currently, Syed is a project leader on a cybersecurity team for the Office of the Chief Information Officer at NASA. In this role, she works both as an analyst and leader to help NASA meet security mandates issued by the White House to make the federal government more secure and digital savvy. It is an extremely rewarding project for her to work with the best and the brightest teams across all of NASA's centers in the United States. Syed was also pleasantly surprised to learn the project manager for the initiative is a current UMUC cybersecurity master's degree student.

Additionally, it's this attitude that earned Syed the role as the first ever Global Director for the Organization of Entrepreneurs in North America where she served a two-year term working with entrepreneurs across the globe. Prior to her role at NASA, she led digital and social strategy at the Auto Care Association.

 Syed with Northern VA Community College (NVCC) President Dr. Scott Ralls.

Syed with NVCC Scholarship recipient. 

To appease her love for digital, Syed offers many different workshops to non-profits, universities and community organizations on digital responsibility, how to manage your digital footprint, use social media for success and even storytelling.

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