Nicole M. Fellouris
Founder & CEO, Elite Development Group, Inc.
Chief Security Officer, Access-Smart, LLC
What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
I am absolutely fascinated and wildly in love with STEM, and it’s been a long going affair since I was a kid. My career originally started in Chemistry and Pre-Med as I had a passion for using science to help and heal others in need. My first stint as a CIO while in college really pulled me into the enigma that is Information Security. When I realized as a ethical hacker I could make a difference in the world by mitigating and remediating cyber threats I knew this was it.
What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
Security assessments and penetration testing will always be the two coolest parts of my work. However, I worked on a Disaster Recovery project for an international Print & Copy Company that entailed me creating a failover network that spanned from Orange County, CA to the Netherlands. The design was highly technical and minimizing the Return to Operation time was tricky but it was pretty darn awesome when finished.
Carl Sagan, Elizabeth Blackwell, Charles & Ray Eames, and Florence Sabin.
Why do you love working in STEM?
I’m a behind the scenes player whose work directly affects the everyday person—it’s very humbling and cool.
Advice for future STEMinists?
Most of the people who will criticize and discourage you are really just a bunch of insecure jerks—seriously ignore them. Always follow your gut intuition and don’t doubt yourself. Nourish friendships with the same devotion as a career. Make a wish when you see a falling star, never lose that wonderment and curiosity. The universe is a big beautiful place full of endless mysteries to be solved, stay amazed.