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The Importance of Cybersecurity



The majority of NKU grads who have cyber security work locally. Current data shows there are about 1,600 unfilled cyber security positions in the Greater Cincinnati market alone.

Click here to read more.

Student Spotlight


Alli Zembrodt

Majors: Data Science & Applied Mathematics

Minors: Computer Science & Information Systems

Graduation: May 2019


Why Computer Science?

My favorite thing about my majors is how small my classes are which allows me to interact with my professors and other students on a more personal level. I have had so many opportunities because of the connections I have made within both the College of Informatics and the Department of Mathematics and Statistics.

Both of my majors also allow me to combine my personal interests with academic projects. Being in Data Science, we have a lot of freedom in the data sets we use which makes doing the work all that more enjoyable.

Experimental Learning

I have had two internships, one with the Cincinnati Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired and one with GE Aviation. My experiences were very different at each company, but both gave me exposure to
new technologies and showed me how the technologies I learned in class applied to the real world. Interning really increased my soft skills and gave me fantastic networking opportunities that lead to me receiving a job offer!

I also participated in several hackathons throughout my college career! I attended Data Fest at Miami University for the first-time last year and will be attending again this year! I also participated in the COMAP (Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications) Mathematical Modeling
Competition this past January. Hackathons give you the unique chance to work on a project from start to finish on an extremely sped up time frame. They are a great chance to learn new skills and boost your creativity!


I would encourage students to get to know their professors more! One of my favorite parts of my college experience has been getting to know my professors on a more personal level. I would also recommend that students take some time to explore topics in data science and math outside of the classroom. Both of these are huge subject areas, and it would be impossible to cover everything in your classes. Finally, I would suggest getting involved on campus! There are so many different clubs and organizations to choose from, and they will all give you a unique perspective and help build your resume!

After Graduation

I will be joining the Digital Technology Leadership Program at GE Aviation in Cincinnati! Here I will have the opportunity to do four six-month rotations, each in a different technical role.

Computer Science Alum


Dr. Victoria Uti

Bachelor's Degrees: Computer Science
Graduated: August 2002


Educational Background

I graduated from NKU with a BS summa cum laude in Computer Science in August 2002. I earned an MS in Computer Science from Indiana University, Bloomington in May 2004. I completed my PhD in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Cincinnati in June 2011 with the support of the National Science Foundation and the Ford Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships.

Responsibilities at Sunrise Technology

I am currently a Senior Machine Learning Engineer at Sunrise Technology. Sunrise Technology is a Kroger commercial technology venture company which invents and markets innovative and advanced technologies to other companies. In my position I translate business requirements into Machine Learning and Computer Vision technologies. I design and implement scalable Machine Learning and Computer Vision algorithms to solve business challenges. In addition, I extract insightful and actionable knowledge from sensor events and big data. I am also responsible for developing rapid prototypes including database, backend, and frontend components for Video Analytics. I liaise between departments to ensure Machine Learning and Computer Vision technologies are designed and implemented in alignment with Sunrise Technology Standards.

Favorite NKU Memory

One of my fondest memories at NKU was taking my first class in Artificial Intelligence with Dr. Fox. This class ignited my curiosity and taught me the fundamentals of AI. It laid the foundation for my graduate studies and early career, and ultimately led to my position as a Senior Machine Learning Engineer.

Advice to Students

Give everything you’ve got to your studies and excel in your classes. But that isn’t enough. At every opportunity, do more than what is expected of you. In particular, take advantage of undergraduate research opportunities on and beyond the NKU campus. For example, as an undergraduate I participated in the NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates. This opened up a world of opportunities for me. NKU is unusual in the number of opportunities for undergraduate research, especially in cooperation with faculty. Your professors want to work with you and see you become a star in your own right, so take advantage of that.

Past, Present, and Future Success

Tobel Atnafu

Major: Computer Science
Minor: Mathematics
Graduation: May 2020

Why Computer Science?

I love that computer science has vast application and can be essential to other fields of study. Using my major, I can contribute to physics (as I did in my summer research) or health studies or finance or any other field I want. Having all these options means it will never get boring.

Experimental Learning

I have done work on research projects with faculty here on campus as well as attended multiple hackathons over the course of my college years. One of the research projects I have worked of is the ISS-CREAM (International Space Station – Cosmic Ray Energetics And Mass) project. On this project, I worked on writing a C++ program that was used to basically clean up data that was received from the ISS. I also wrote several helper scripts in python and bash for the C++ program.

The hackathons I've attended have greatly impacted me in terms of changing my view on learning and shaping what I want to pursue as a career. I have attended different types of hackathons with different themes ranging from improving customer experience to data utilization. The biggest hackathon I have attended so far was GlobalHack VII. The theme of this hackathon was to make a product that improves the lives of foreign-born individuals. Inspired by NKU’s International Friendship Family Program, my team decided to make a web application that would connect migrants with volunteering individuals/families. Our project ended up coming in 2nd place out of 40+ teams and my team won $10,000.


My top recommendation for other students in my major is to get involved in computer science related activities outside of the classroom. Doing research is one great way to learn a lot of new concepts and technologies that will be very valuable skills in the future.

Another way to get involved is to attend hackathons. Several universities around the area (and sometimes companies) host hackathons throughout the year and these are exciting events to be a part of. In addition to the technical skill you will gain working on a project for 24 hours, you will also gain valuable skills such as time management, ability to work in teams and problem-solving.

After Graduation

Currently, my plan is to either go into industry as a software developer or go to graduate school to pursue higher education. I am leaning towards the latter.


Nathanael Long

Major: CIT
Minors: Information Security & Information Systems
Graduation: May 2020

Favorite Features

I enjoy critical thinking, problem solving, learning about computers and making the world a safer place.

Experiential Learning

I have participated in 2 technology internships with the same company (Mubea) during the summers of 2018 and 2017. I have also participated in many CTFs that have been hosted by the informatics department and the Cyber Defense Club.

My participation in both these activities has given me valuable hands on experience as well as a drive to learn more about my field of study.


I would recommend that they do their best in their studies. Don’t lose site of the goal (graduation). Find your specialty within the major, choose whatever you like the most about CIT and study that as much as you can. The work force needs specialist in almost every area of CIT.

Future Plans

I plan on starting work full time in either a networking position or working for an information security company.


Ariana Lopez

Bachelor's Degrees:
Computer Science & CIT
Graduated: May 2011


Reponsibilities at GE Aviation
My current job title is Staff Software Engineer in the Digital Technology Solutions organization. For the last 4 years I have been working with cloud technologies, in particular, Amazon Web Services.  As of right now, my main focus is to create the strategy for our organization in the cloud space ie, what particular services we should be using and then working on proof of concepts.
Giving Back
When I first started at GE Aviation I was the only NKU alum and it was very lonely. I was a part of the Information Technology Leadership Program and when I found out we did recruiting I immediately raised my hand and started recruiting at NKU. I remember being at the STEM career fairs all by myself with no help, talking to a huge line of interested students eagerly wanting to pursue an opportunity as an intern. Since then we have 15+ people and a steady stream of NKU students joining GE Aviation either as an ITLP or as a direct hire.
Favorite NKU Memory
Being in the student lounge in the Math building working with other students. I really enjoyed my time collaborating with other students and working together to complete homework assignments.
Advice for Students
  •  The only limitation you have in life is the limitation you put on yourself. Believe in yourself and strive for the best. Don’t let your past mistakes determine your future.
  •  Determine the type of person you want to be. Will you be a person who is known for their integrity, their candor, and willingness to help others? Or will you be a person with questionable ethics, willing to do anything to get ahead?
  •  Stay humble
Words to Remember
When I was preparing to interview for Summer internships I sat down with Kevin Hardy from Career Development Services to do a mock interview. After our mock interview he gave me feedback, which I found invaluable, but then he changed our conversation to finances. He explained to me how the business world has 401k’s and gave me an overview of how it works and how it is important to save for the future. He also told me about the importance of a Roth IRA. He really wanted to set me up for success and I am extremely grateful for that. That conversation has stuck with me over the years and I always share that with new NKU recruits at GE.



John Murray

Bachelor’s Degrees: CIT & Computer Science

Graduated: May 2011


I am a Senior Software Engineer II at Xandr, an AT&T company, which is a platform for programmatic advertising. Programmatic advertising, also referred to as Real Time Bidding (RTB), is akin to an auction where advertisers bid on the chance to show an ad to the user. This ad could be an empty spot on a web-page, an audio advertisement on your internet-radio, an ad that plays before your video, etc. Typically these auctions happen on demand (as the page loads) and complete in about a tenth of a second.

I work on the Supply & Demand team which has the mandate to support our supply-side integrations (providing our platform with additional publisher inventory), such as Google's Authorized Buyers platform, and to support 3rd party bidders that participate in the auctions on our platform. I am primarily responsible for our supply-side integration with Google which involves building and maintaining a couple of different applications written in C and C++ and participate as a bidder on their platform. I also assist in other strategic areas to accelerate initial development or provide support on difficult bugs. This includes our internal tooling we build for our support team to troubleshoot integration, a new UI for our bidder clients, and providing a set of reusable components for building micro-services.

Giving Back

I have focused on giving back to my work community by leading training sessions and encouraging practices such as "lunch and learns" and "mob-programming sessions." I have recently started to build out as a way to contribute outside of my work environment. In the future I would like to focus more on contributing to the development community and to NKU.

Favorite NKU Memory

I don't know if there is a single memory that stands out above the rest, but I can say that working with the other students at CAI was fantastic. Being able to "nerd-out" over similar interests, work on fun projects, and play Minecraft on our shared server really made NKU feel like somewhere I belonged.

Advice for Students

The most valuable skill you can master is how to learn. Learning doesn't stop after college and isn't something that only continues in post-grad. In the course of my career the ability to learn, and do so quickly, has been essential.