CRC’s Second CSUCI President’s Scholar Thrives During Pandemic – Student Update by Sheradyn Ruef

CRC’s Second CSUCI President’s Scholar Thrives During Pandemic – Student Update by Sheradyn Ruef

Sheradyn Ruef is a Computer Science major at California State University – Channel Islands and recipient of the CRC President’s Scholarship. She expects to graduate in May, 2023.

After committing to California State University – Channel Islands (CSUCI) in 2019, I was thrilled to receive an email inviting me to campus to interview for the President’s Scholarship. At first, I felt nervous having such an incredible opportunity, but as I sat with the Advisory Committee in University Hall, I had a great time meeting everyone and being able to learn more about the program. It was only a few weeks later when I received a phone call during my music class informing me that I was selected for the CRC President’s Scholarship Program. I was ecstatic to find out I was a future Scholar because that is when I realized my dream of working in cybersecurity became one step closer to reality. I am truly grateful for CRC’s generous support in my education, and for giving me this opportunity to pursue a career as a computer scientist.CRC's CSUCI President's Scholar, Sherydan Ruef

Throughout most of my life, I was unsure of what I wanted to major in until my last semester of high school. I enrolled in an Information Technology class just for fun, as I always had an interest in technology but never knew where to start. On the first day of class, something clicked for me as I got to wire an ethernet cable by hand. It was not an easy task, but I loved the challenge and was fascinated by learning about the technology I use every day. Throughout the semester, I worked on various projects such as coding light shows on LED bulbs and building a mini-submarine using specific software. Every class period I fell more in love with Computer Science and knew it was the major meant for me. While I’m not focusing on making cables now, the same sense of challenge carries on in my programs. It can be incredibly frustrating, but it’s also so rewarding, like solving a big puzzle. It’s something I don’t mind putting in the extra work for because it has grown to be one of my strongest passions.

After completing my degree, I aspire to use my knowledge to protect hospitals from cyberattacks. These attacks are a growing issue as more hackers steal patient information and prevent facilities from accessing critical care systems. This issue has only worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic, as there has been a sharp increase in ransomware attacks. Lives are at risk from these hackers seeking money and my goal is to change this. Currently, I work at the STEM Center at CSUCI as a tutor for Math and Computer Science to gain experience and get involved on campus. It has been an amazing experience connecting with students in preparation for my cybersecurity career.

I am so blessed to have the support that CRC has given me. I look forward to continuing my academic career as a President’s Scholar and can’t wait to see what Channel Islands has in store for this semester.