An instructor within Highline College’s Computer Science/Computer Information Systems department was recently honored for her achievement of excellence in teaching and learning. Dr. Amelia Phillips received the 2019 William H. Meardy Faculty Member Award from the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) during an awards ceremony on Oct. 18 in San Francisco.
The annual award recognizes exceptional contributions and service among faculty at more than 1,100 two-year postsecondary institutions.
“For me, winning was –– as I said in my acceptance speech –– ‘unbelievable,’” Phillips said, noting her many thanks to everyone who has supported her. “Everyone at my table was confident I would win and it makes me happy to be honored in this way.”
A lead faculty member of Highline’s Bachelor of Applied Science in Cybersecurity and Forensics, Phillips is a nationally and internationally recognized expert in the field of computer forensics. During her 17 years at Highline, the Seattle resident has served as the chair of the Pure and Applied Science Division at Highline, she’s created the International Collegiate Cyber Defense Invitational (ICCDI) and has been the regional director for the Pacific Rim Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (PRCCDC) for 7 years and hosted the event for 12 years.
Not only has she co-authored multiple textbooks ¬–– including “Guide to Computer Forensics and Investigations,” which is one of the standard texts in the field –– but Phillips was also a Fulbright Scholar with Namibia as well as Fulbright Ambassador, further connecting her vast knowledge on an international level.
When Phillips isn’t teaching in the classroom, she’s mentoring young and nontraditional women students as part of Highline’s Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS) club, which seeks to assist women in traditionally male-dominated cybersecurity and STEM-related professions. She also serves co-chair of the National Initiative on Cybersecurity Education (NICE) Competitions Subgroup and as an external moderator for Namibia University of Science and Technology.
Phillips said teaching has allowed her to do things she never imagined, including teaching in Namibia, and yet, she now calls Namibia her second home due to the number of years she’s worked with the people and programs there.
“Dr. Phillips embodies the characteristics of a true education professional,” Highline College Board of Trustee Dan Altmayer said. “In addition to her national leadership in the computer field, she has been a pillar in the foundation and execution of our BAS in Cybersecurity and Forensics. She has done this all with an unwavering commitment to student success through teaching, mentoring, and coaching. We are proud to call Dr. Amelia Phillips as one of our own faculty here at Highline College.”
A graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Phillips has bachelor’s degrees in both archaeology and astronautical engineering, and earned her doctorate in computer security at the University of Alaska Fairbanks as an interdisciplinary degree. She has worked for more than 30 years in government, private industry and academics.
Prior to winning the national award, Phillips was awarded the ACCT’s Pacific Regional Faculty Member Award in July. Her selection as one of five regional winners in the United States made her eligible for the national honor.
The Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) is a nonprofit educational organization of governing boards, representing more than 6,500 elected and appointed trustees.