What was your educational and professional background before coming to SILS?
I grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina. I spent countless hours on the computer teaching myself applications and I absorbed tactical knowledge through trial and error. I realized early on that I had an interest in application development and an innate love for design.
Before coming to SILS, I had limited experience in the industry. My love for aesthetics and IT culminated in a position working for the Collegiate Times Newspaper at Virginia Tech as a layout designer. I took many classes in communications, graphic design, and journalism before I found the School of Information and Library Science. Once I took Information Science 101, I knew I had found my major!
How has your career progressed since you graduated SILS?
Upon graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2013, I already had a job with TIAA as a Technical Associate. I spent a year and a half working in the central IT Business Management Office overseeing project management processes. This was a job with diverse responsibilities including process management, training & development, technical analysis, SharePoint development, process consultation, and user experience design. I designed many internal communication portals, took a leadership role in the company's diversity & inclusion program, and was instrumental in effecting grassroots change on several key initiatives.
In your current employment, what are your job duties and responsibilities?
I now work in the Cybersecurity department as a Senior Information Security Analyst. I support the IT policies that enable our IT resource risk assessment programs and protect the organization from Cyber related threats. This job is multi-faceted. I am in charge of supporting the policy updates which requires expertise of the policies and the system of record. I also serve as a business analyst supporting the IT risk management software for the company. I unveiled two completely original tools to help employees easily understand sometimes wordy and confusing Cybersecurity policies. I was recently promoted to Senior Information Security Analyst.
What were some of your best experiences at SILS?
My best experiences at SILS were my senior classes. I really enjoyed the special topics classes including "Personal Information Management", "Web Development", "Privacy by Design" and my "Senior Topics Seminar." I found these topics inspiring and I relished learning through group projects and experimentation.
What projects have gotten you most excited and/or what accomplishments have made you the proudest?
My education at SILS prepared me to be a consumer of research in an organizational climate where hearsay tends to dominate the conversation. I learned how to make informed decisions based on a deep understanding of Information Technology processes.
SILS also taught me how to think. I don't see issues as isolated instances. I automatically troubleshoot with a broad understanding of how issues connect to other issues across the organization.
What inspires or motivates you?
I am inspired by how technology can work to help people. For this reason, I am currently enrolled in a Master's Program at UNC-Charlotte for Industrial/Organizational Psychology. I am motivated to develop software that transforms how Human Resources operates from an IT perspective.
Is there any other information you would like to share, or any advice you would like to offer current or future SILS students?
There is no substitute for experience. Take every opportunity to take information in and learn something about the world.
Never ignore your own instincts, even if they are scary. In an organizational context, you may feel boxed in and labeled sometimes. It can be daunting to express yourself, make mistakes, and be vulnerable in such a context. However, being brave pays off.
When your talents and interests are fully engaged, you will know. Do everything you can to maximize that flow in your work, and in life, too.