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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: rodney.petersen [at]  ♦  (301) 975-8897

Marian Merritt Web Photo


Marian Merritt

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

Marian Merritt is the Deputy Director, Manager of Stakeholder Engagement, 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: marian.merritt [at]  ♦  (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: davina.pruitt-mentle [at]  ♦  (301) 975-2411 

Karen Wetzel Web Photo


Karen Wetzel

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

Karen Wetzel joined the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) as Manager of the NICE Framework in October 2020. In this role she is responsible for leading efforts around the development, improvement, and application of the NICE Workforce Framework for Cybersecurity (NICE Framework) in support of an integrated ecosystem of cybersecurity education, training, and workforce development. Read more. 

Contact: karen.wetzel [at] ♦ (240) 439-0767

Caron Carlson

Caron Carlson

Research Analyst, National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE)

Caron Carlson is a research analyst for NICE at NIST.  Previously, she was an associate at NIST, working with both NICE and the Applied Cybersecurity Division’s Communications Office. Her experience in cybersecurity goes back more than 20 years to her earlier career as a journalist writing about information security and telecommunications policy. She received a bachelor’s degree in foreign service from Georgetown University and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri.

Contact: caron.carlson [at] ♦ (240) 750-4479

Danielle Santos Web Photo

Danielle Santos

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

Danielle Santos is the Manager of Communications and Operations and Lead for International Engagement 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: danielle.santos [at]  ♦  (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: susana.barraza [at] ♦ (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: calvin.watson [at] ♦ (301) 975-4470

2022 NICE Students

Aubrie Kendall

Aubrie Kendall
Credit: Aubrie Kendall

2022 NICE Summer Graduate Fellow
California State University, San Bernardino

 Kyle Truong

Kyle Truong
Credit: Gemstone Leadership Council

2022 NIST Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow (SURF)
University of Maryland, College Park

Lindsey Walter

Lindsey Walter
Credit: Lindsey Walter

2022 NIST Summer High School Internship Program (SHIP)
Thomas Wootton High School

 Learn more about how NICE recruit’s students and view past interns here



  • NICE Program Office
    (301) 975-4470
    100 Bureau Dr.
    Gaithersburg, MD 20899
Created February 1, 2017, Updated January 6, 2023