2017 Rising Star Awards

Amanda L. Day

Enterprise Cybersecurity Awareness and Training Lead, Department of Homeland Security


Being in charge of cybersecurity training for nearly half a million Department of Homeland Security employees is a daunting responsibility. But Amanda Day, who leads DHS’ Enterprise Cybersecurity Awareness and Training program, does it by making sure her team members are empowered and acknowledged.

Chelsea Rainier, DHS’ communications lead in the chief information security officer’s office, has known Day since she started her new role. “She makes sure she invests in us, that we’re where we need or want to be,” Rainier said of Day, who is not her direct supervisor. “She never takes praise without giving credit to her team.”

Day, who previously worked in IT at Customs and Border Protection, also runs DHS’ Information Security Training Working Group, which provides a discussion forum for cybersecurity awareness and training throughout the agency.

Her experience and ongoing coordination with frontline workers help give her team members a clear sense of why their work matters.

“In IT, it can seem like we are separated from the boots on the ground,” Rainier said. “But [Day’s] experience has strengthened her passion for the mission, and she reminds us that everyone plays an important role.”

Rather than leading with a rubber stamp of approval, Day empowers her team to make decisions, Rainier added, and she gives even interns as much knowledge, training and exposure as possible.

“She refuses to let our current intern be called anything but her title: junior cybersecurity analyst,” Rainier said. The intern is with Day “every step of the way, under her wing, even in a meeting with the CIO.”

For someone who has only been in her job for a year, that’s the kind of leadership that makes one a Rising Star.

Click here for more on all the 2017 Rising Stars

About the Author

Lauren C. Williams is a staff writer at FCW covering defense and cybersecurity.

Prior to joining FCW, Williams was the tech reporter for ThinkProgress, where she covered everything from internet culture to national security issues. In past positions, Williams covered health care, politics and crime for various publications, including The Seattle Times.

Williams graduated with a master's in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park and a bachelor's in dietetics from the University of Delaware. She can be contacted at lwilliams@fcw.com, or follow her on Twitter @lalaurenista.

Click here for previous articles by Wiliams.


  • Congress
    U.S. Capitol (Photo by M DOGAN / Shutterstock)

    Funding bill clears Congress, heads for president's desk

    The $1.3 trillion spending package passed the House of Representatives on March 22 and the Senate in the early hours of March 23. President Trump is expected to sign the bill, securing government funding for the remainder of fiscal year 2018.

  • 2018 Fed 100

    The 2018 Federal 100

    This year's Fed 100 winners show just how much committed and talented individuals can accomplish in federal IT. Read their profiles to learn more!

  • Census
    How tech can save money for 2020 census

    Trump campaign taps census question as a fund-raising tool

    A fundraising email for the Trump-Pence reelection campaign is trying to get supporters behind a controversial change to the census -- asking respondents whether or not they are U.S. citizens.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.