STEM Presents: Amber Schroader on Digital Forensics

by Hays T. ’21

This past summer, I attended an Introduction to Cybersecurity camp through Northern Virginia Community College. During this camp, I met Amber Schroader, CEO and founder of Paraben Corporation. I wanted her to come to Foxcroft to speak, and on Thursday, November 29, she visited as part of our STEM Presents speaker series.
Ms. Schroader told us about herself, her job, the field she is in, and different aspects of her career. She has been working in the digital forensics field for more than 20 years. She shared that she is dyslexic, so she thinks differently — which, she said, is why digital forensics is a good field for her. The way it starts at the end with evidence and works backwards to figure out what happened works well with how she thinks.

Ms. Shroader’s career path, however, was not straight. Before she wanted to work in digital forensics, she wanted to be Wonder Woman. That did not quite work out. She got her first taste of digital forensics in high school but, as a backup plan, she went to college and majored in culinary arts! The field of digital forensics is dominated by men; Ms. Schroader estimated that they make up around 90% of the people working in the field. She urged us, as young women, to get into the field. She also emphasized that whenever she is hiring someone new she has them take a writing test because writing is a crucial part of every job. 

Ms. Schroader is the inventor of the EMI shielding bag, a lightweight and flexible fabric bag that blocks any signals when an electronic device is placed inside. The bag is made out of many different types of metals. She came up with the idea while watching a video at the Smithsonian showing someone from a power company in something called a Faraday suit, which helps them to stay safe while working on power lines. Now it is required that all mobile evidence be put in the EMI bag that Ms. Schroader invented!

It was amazing to hear Amber Schroader speak again, and I hope her presentation taught Foxcroft students about more career options in the STEM fields.
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An all-girls boarding and day school in Northern Virginia, Foxcroft prepares young women in grades 9-12 for success in college and in life. Our outstanding academic program offers challenging courses, including Advanced Placement classes and an innovative STEM program. Our premiere equestrian program is nationally recognized, and our athletic teams have won conference and state championships. Experience the best in girls' boarding schools: visit Foxcroft.