Skip to main content

Senior Spotlight: Momoka Kinder

Momoka Kinder
Momoka Kinder is a senior cybersecurity major from Nagoya, Japan.

This summer, Kinder (alongside fellow senior Meg Winslow) created a poster that won the Best Undergrad Research Poster award at the Women in Cybersecurity 2021 Symposium.

What made you choose Cybersecurity?
My interest in cybersecurity started when I was a student at Gateway Community and Technical College in 2018. Professor Deep invited me to join the school's Cyber Defense, and while I knew nothing about cybersecurity, I was instantly hooked by the thrill of working with gamified/simulated cybersecurity problems. The same professor told me that NKU would be launching a brand-new Bachelor of Science degree in Cybersecurity in 2020, so I have been determined to pursue that degree since.

What is the biggest highlight(s) of your career at NKU?
Both Meg and I were members of Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS) National, but did not work closely until Dr. Ankur encouraged us to establish a WicyS chapter at NKU. Ever since, we have been able to connect students with various workshops, resources, scholarship opportunities and more. In addition, I joined the NKU Cyber Defense team (NKCyber) where I serve as the captain for the Capture the Flag division, and I was able to get my current internship at Kroger through the connections I made from the club.

"Don’t pass on the opportunities you find at NKU. The connections I made on the NKU Cyber Defense team landed me my dream internship at Kroger. All of these opportunities I got because of NKU. When I first started them, I had no clue it would lead up to this."

What advice do you have for current NKU students?
Don’t pass on the opportunities you find at NKU. I participated in the cybersecurity competition (CTF) encouraged by NKU faculty Dr. Walden, which resulted in a $1,000 scholarship and $3,000 in learning materials from the SANS Institute. A student-research opportunity with Dr. Ankur landed me a free ticket, food and lodging to the Women in Cybersecurity Conference in Denver, where I was awarded the Undergraduate Student Research Poster winner. Connections I made in the NKU Cyber Defense team (NKCyber) landed me my dream internship at Kroger. All these opportunities I got because of NKU. When I first started them I had no clue it would lead up to this.

What was the process of putting together the poster, in a relatively short amount of time, like?
Our goal in this research was to study the impact that OneUp shell, consisting of gamification elements and virtual competitive challenge based learning environment, can have on undergrad educational experience (especially in online cybersecurity courses) when it is offered as a supplementary learning aid. Using OneUp, we created warm-up exercises and challenges on cybersecurity class topics for practice, self-assessment and testing of conceptual knowledge.

We initially received an email that we interpreted as rejection and thought we had not been accepted but, about two weeks before the conference, we got another email congratulating us on our poster abstract acceptance and looking forward to the poster presentation. Meg was not supposed to be able to attend the WiCyS conference in Denver so we agreed that I would be responsible for the creation and presentation of the poster. Since I primarily worked on the poster myself, it helped me speak about the research with confidence and passion at the day of the presentation.

Some of the feedback I got from the judges even stated: “Hands down, your poster and presentation was the best so I’m thrilled you won." To be honest, I was a little reluctant about being responsible for the poster creation and presentation at first due to my lack of vocabulary as English is my second language. But Dr. Ankur reassured me that this is a wonderful opportunity for me and after everything is done, I will be so happy that I did it, and he was right. I will never forget this experience!

About This Article

Emily Miller
Contributor. NKU Magazine
Published December 2021
Photography provided by Momoka Kinder

Share This


Recent Features