The New Generation of Women in Tech: Meet Sarah Gaines

Text by Cameron Hurdle/
Photos by Daka David

Sarah Gaines, wearing a blue top with a dark coat, holding a hand sign high above her head along with other women in the background doing the same
Sarah Gaines Performing Yard Show. Photo: Daka David

The technology field is becoming more diverse, not only culturally, but with more women, too. Since the field has historically been male-dominated, I looked for a woman in tech to gain her perspective and hear about her journey. 

Sarah Gaines walking outside during daylight on a side walk with bushes and shrubs in the back. The woman is wearing a white dress with a graduation cap on her head
Sarah graduating with her bachelor’s in criminal justice, KSU Campus. Photo: Daka David

Sarah Gaines first grew an interest in technology working for the U.S. Small Business Administration while pursuing her education. She earned her bachelor’s degree in 2020 in criminal justice and master’s degree in cybersecurity in 2021, both from Kennesaw State University. She worked closely with the SBA’s chief information security officer, Kelley Kiernan, who mentored her along the way. Gaines now supervises a team of 16 people.

Gaines said that if you are the only woman on your team, you need to exercise “practice, patience, and perseverance — don’t doubt your abilities!” 

Sarah Gaines standing outside posing outside on a walk way in front of flowers, she is wearing a white dress with her graduation gown and cap on
Sarah graduating with her master’s degree in cybersecurity, KSU campus. Photo: Daka David

On a typical day, Gaines looks through economic injury disaster loan data for any suspicious online behavior. She said women who gain essential skills such as computer programming and coding languages are more competitive for entry-level positions.  

“It is important to know different languages such as Python, Java, JavaScript, SQL, computer security and project management; these will open up opportunities and help to get your foot in the door.”

Gaines said women make up about 20% of her department so she joined some tech groups to grow her network and meet more women mentors. 

“As someone fairly new to the digital world I was overwhelmed when I first started, however you have to move past a feeling of nervousness and believe in yourself.

an image of a laptop/computer screen and with a headshot of a Sarah next to the words "Governance And Regulatory Policy Briefing"
Sarah Gaines presentation for team members

Student Biography: Cameron Hurdle is an up-and-coming information systems graduate student at Kennesaw State University. He is enrolled in a women’s empowerment technology course. In this profile, Hurdle shares the story of Sarah Gaines and her path into this career field.

Women’s Leadership through Virtual Exchange: Youth Sharing Digital Stories (WLVE) is a project engaging 100 undergraduate and graduate students from Hassan II University Casablanca with 100 undergraduate students from Kennesaw State University in a unique cross-cultural virtual exchange experience focused on better understanding women’s leadership through research, analysis, and digital storytelling. This virtual classroom-based project will collect biographical stories of successful women leaders in both countries written by the students and publish them online on Bokeh Focus. 

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