Joyous "Joy" Huggins was born on the tough West side of Chicago and before she even made it to her first birthday, she found herself in foster care.
Foster care seemed like the only real option, even if harsh and unfair. Joy's mother was an addict, her father, simply not around, and her grandmother, Joy's backup family, an alcoholic. But at least Joy wasn't alone. Pretty soon all her five siblings were also in foster care, though scattered across different homes. Over the next two decades Joy and her siblings bounced from family to family, home to home, nearly a dozen in total.
“Foster care comes with all forms of abuse. You never really know you were abused until you educate yourself and find out that you were. In my case, emotional, or physical abuse came from most of my parents. Primarily my Grandmother.” Joy’s grandmother passed away when Joy was just 14 years old.
Joy’s escape from a lifetime in foster care happened when she was 21 years old. Now aged out and no longer supported by the system, Joy turned to the Navy for a new life and new family. It was also a way for Joy to provide some kind of stability for her siblings too.
Today Joy is enjoying an exciting career in cyber threat intelligence. She obtained a Degree in Computer Science and Computer Security from Maryland College, followed by a Masters’ degree in Cybersecurity.
Joy also now runs Defender Academy, a training institution for middle and high schoolers to teach them the fundamentals of cybersecurity and encourage them to follow in her footsteps.