Cybersecurity secrets: Alyssa Edmond '21 & the CAT club

On Wednesday, January 24, the Computer and Technology (CAT) Club hosted a virtual seminar with Heidelberg alumna Alyssa Edmond ‘21, who shared her experiences working in cybersecurity. Part of the mission of the CAT Club is to bring professionals to engage with students in the computer science program. Bringing in a recent alumni is an added bonus, advised by Professor Sean Joyce.

Professor Joyce facilitated the connection between Alyssa and the current executive board of the CAT Club, and students were quick to take off with the program. The student leaders of the CAT Club sorted out the time, date and format – and asked Alyssa some of the tough questions in advance of her virtual presentation. And once Alyssa finished her presentation, it was the CAT Club students again who filled the 40 minutes left for questions-and-answers.

Alyssa told the students she is currently working for Aon as a cybersecurity threat analyst. Much like a spy, she is tasked with visiting the darkweb and interacting on forums to find out what weaknesses cyber criminals have found in Aon’s privacy and security measures. For her to have found such an important and interesting job less than 2 years after her graduation was highly encouraging to the students of the CAT club.

Students spoke to her about the work she presently does, and asked her theoretical and practical questions about the field of technology. They walked away with a better understanding of the ever-changing nature of the computer science industry, and what all they could hope to accomplish with the basic programming languages they learned at Heidelberg and a healthy spirit of adaptability.

Jessica Harness-Koehnle, one of the organizers of the event, was excited and proud to have this level of familiarity and trust with a ‘Berg alumna. “It means opportunities for us to ask questions and learn from their experiences. The tech world is ever-changing, but some things never change – like how do you interview for a tech job?” Jessica expressed that she was happy about the level of engagement that the event produced, and how excited students were to hear from Alyssa. 

“It’s a different perspective than what the professors can offer – and it definitely reiterates how important it is to pay attention in our classes right now,” she said.

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