Women's History Month graphic

Each week during March — Womxn’s History Month — we’re profiling womxn faculty members who have pursued academic careers in male-dominated professions and have made significant contributions to their fields. Data science is one such profession, with womxn comprising only 20 percent of the workforce. Similarly, womxn comprise only 25 percent of the cybersecurity workforce.

Essia Hamouda, associate professor of information and decision sciences, joined CSUSB as an assistant professor in 2017. She is the director of the Master of Science in Business Data Analytics program and has made significant contributions to teaching and research since she joined the university.

Committed to inclusion and diversity, she founded the Women in Cybersecurity Club in 2018 to empower womxn in technical fields. She also established the Data Analytics Working Group, which fosters a data-empowered community across disciplines.  

Notably, Hamouda is the sole tenured female faculty member in her department, specializing in information systems and technology and cybersecurity. She was awarded the 2020 Outstanding Service Award and 2021 Outstanding Teaching Award in the Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration. She is also the recipient of a National Institutes of Health grant and a USDA grant (Project DA-FANH), the goals of which are to enrich the quality of education and research in underrepresented communities.  

 When did you become a university faculty member for the first time, and how would you describe your experience? 

 I embarked on my journey as a university faculty member in 2010 at the University of California, Riverside. In Fall 2015, I joined Cal State Chico as an assistant professor of computer science. In Fall 2017, I joined CSUSB, a transition marked by enthusiasm and dedication. Joining CSUSB, I found a supportive community that eased my integration into campus life. My involvement in committees and various initiatives allowed me to grow, learn and contribute meaningfully to the department, the college and the university. 

Essia Hamouda
Essia Hamouda is the founder of the Women in Cybersecurity Club at CSUSB.

 What is the best advice you were given when you became a faculty member (or when you decided to pursue a career in academia)?  

One invaluable piece of advice that resonated with me was to embrace challenges as opportunities for growth. As I ventured into academia, I learned that overcoming obstacles, particularly in a male-dominated field, is inherently challenging but also essential in the pursuit of knowledge and increasing the presence of womxn in academia and in the technical field. Embracing this advice not only strengthened my resolve and resilience but also fueled my determination to contribute meaningfully to my field and assert my position as a womxn in academia. 

 What advice would you give students who identify as female who are interested in pursuing a career in your field?  

 To aspiring female students in the technical field, I would emphasize the importance of self-belief and resilience. In a field that has historically been male dominated, each womxn brings a unique perspective and has the power to contribute significantly. Seek mentors who inspire you, build a network of supportive peers, and never underestimate the value of your voice. Embrace challenges, stay curious, and remember that your presence enriches the academic landscape. Do not be intimidated by your peers, whomever they are. Be confident! Share and celebrate your achievements. 

 As we celebrate Womxn’s History Month, let us acknowledge the strides made, celebrate the achievements of womxn in academia, and inspire the next generation of leaders.  

At CSUSB, we intentionally spell womxn with an X as an objection to the patriarchal idea that womxn are an extension to men and the inclusion of all womxn go beyond just cis-women.