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Meet the Staff

Rodney Petersen Web Photo

Rodney Petersen

Director of the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) 

Rodney Petersen is the director of NICE at NIST in the U.S. Department of Commerce. He previously served as the Managing Director of the EDUCAUSE Washington Office and a Senior Government Relations Officer. He founded and directed the EDUCAUSE Cybersecurity Initiative and was the lead staff liaison for the Higher Education Information Security Council. Prior to joining EDUCAUSE, he worked at two different times for the University of Maryland - first as Campus Compliance Officer in the Office of the President and later as the Director of IT Policy and Planning in the Office of the Vice President and Chief Information Officer. Read more.

Contact:  ♦  (301) 975-8897

Marian Merritt Web Photo


Marian Merritt

Deputy Director and Lead for Industry Engagement, National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE)

Marian Merritt is the Deputy Director and Lead for Industry Engagement for NICE at NIST. Marian has over 20 years of experience working in the cybersecurity industry. She previously was with Symantec Corporation as their Director of Cyber Education and Online Safety Programs. In that role, she created a cybersecurity career program for underserved young adults which launched in 2014. Read more.

Contact:  ♦  (240) 338-2033

Davina Pruitt-Mentle Web Photo

Davina Pruitt-Mentle

Lead for Academic Engagement, National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE)

Dr. Davina Pruitt-Mentle serves as Lead for Academic Engagement of NICE at NIST. Prior to joining NICE, she was a senior researcher and policy analyst for Educational Technology Policy, Research and Outreach (ETPRO) and served as the Co-PI for the National Science Foundation (NSF) supported National Cyberwatch Center (NCC). Read more.

Contact:  ♦  (301) 975-2411

Karen Wetzel Web Photo


Karen Wetzel

Manager of the NICE Framework, National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE)

Karen Wetzel joined NICE as the Manager of the NICE Framework in October 2020. As a common, consistent lexicon that categorizes and describes cybersecurity work, the NICE Framework improves communication about how to identify, recruit, develop, and retain cybersecurity talent. Karen specializes in identifying, communicating, and developing guidance around key issues, emerging trends, and opportunities of special interest. Read more. 

Contact: ♦ (240) 439-0767

Kofi Ansah-Brew

Kofi Ansah-Brew

Lead for Government Engagement, FISSEA Program Lead, National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) 

Kofi Ansah-Brew joined NIST in early November as the NICE Lead for Government Engagement and Program Lead for the Federal Information Security Educators (FISSEA).  He is a recent graduate of the University of Maryland where he was a CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service Scholar.  He completed a Bachelor's degree in Information Science with a Minor in Cybersecurity; he also participated in the Advanced Cybersecurity Experience for Students (ACES) Program and conducted research on “Improving the Cybersecurity Awareness of University of Maryland Students”. Read more. 

Contact: ♦ (240) 205-6439

Danielle Santos Web Photo

Danielle Santos

Manager of Communications and Operations, National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE)

Danielle Santos is the Manager of Communications and Operations for NICE at NIST. Prior to her role at NIST, Danielle served as the Program Manager for cybersecurity formal education programs including National Centers of Academic Excellence and the CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service (SFS) at the Cybersecurity and Communications division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Read more.

Contact:  ♦  (202) 308-3909

Susana Barraza Web Photo

Susana Barraza

Program Manager, National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE)

Susana Barraza is the Program Manager for NICE at NIST. She previously served as the Student Personnel Assistant for the Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) STEM Equity and Success Initiative (SESI) Project at Sacramento City College. A program that seeks to increase the enrollment and success of Latina/o and economically disadvantaged students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs in their transition from high school to college and ultimately degree completion, transfer, and career opportunity. Read more

Contact: ♦ (240) 457-2638

Calvin Watson Photo


Calvin Watson

Group Office Manager, National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE)

Calvin Watson serves as Group Office Manager for NICE at NIST. Calvin has over 15 years of experience in program support for human resources, international development, and cybersecurity teams. Prior to joining NICE, he was the Division Administrator at Abt Associates where he aided several United States Agency for International Development economic and humanitarian projects working to improve global health and alleviate poverty.

Calvin has received several special recognition awards from the Director of Abt Associates for his contributions. He was also presented with a Leadership Award by the Combined Federal
Campaign of the National Capital Area in recognition of his outstanding management and dedicated service.

Contact: ♦ (301) 975-4470

Students at NICE

Timothy Desir

Timothy Desir

2021 NIST Professional Research Experience Program (PREP)
Montgomery College

Prior NICE Student Interns

 Joseph Mercado, Matthew Scarborough, and Frauke Steinmeier participated in student internships with NICE during the summer of 2020.  

Joseph Mercado

Joseph Mercado

2020 NICE Undergraduate Fellow
California State University, San Bernardino

Matthew Scarborough

Matthew Scarborough

2020 C3P Summer Experience
Clark State College

Frauke Steinmeier

 Frauke Steinmeier

2020 C3P Summer Experience
San Antonio College

  Rickie Grigsby, Thomas Hayes, and Kelley Li completed student internships with NICE during the summer of 2019.  

Rickie Grigsby


Image of Rickie Grigsby
2019 NICE Summer Graduate Fellow,
California State University, San Bernardino

Thomas Hayes


image of thomas hayes
2019 NIST Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow (SURF),
University of North Georgia

Kelley Li


image of Kelley LI
2019 NIST Summer High School Internship Program (SHIP), 
Montgomery Blair High School

Samantha Halam, Christine Hysell, and Adi Singh completed student internships with NICE during the summer of 2018.  

Samantha Halam


Photo of Samantha Halam

2018 NIST Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow (SURF),
Fayetteville State University

Christine Hysell


Photo of Christine Hysell

2018 NICE Summer Undergraduate Fellow,
University of Redlands

Adi Singh


Photo of Adi Singh

2018 NIST Summer High School Internship Program (SHIP),
 River Hill High School

Alina Aragon, Dora Baldwin, and Lindsey Polley completed student internships with NICE during the summer of 2017.

Alina Aragon


Image of Alina Aragon
2017 NICE Undergraduate Fellow,
California State University, San Bernardino

Dora Baldwin


image of Dora Baldwin
2017 NICE Summer Graduate Fellow,
California State University, San Bernardino

Lindsey Polley


image of Lindsey Polley
2017 NICE Summer Graduate Fellow,
Pardee RAND Graduate School




  • NICE Program Office
    (301) 975-5048
    100 Bureau Dr.
    Gaithersburg, MD 20899
Created February 1, 2017, Updated March 22, 2021