High Prospects

Maneel Manish Modi is Confident His New Cybersecurity Credentials Will Position Him Well in Industry

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Born and brought up in Mumbai, Maneel Manish Modi is on the verge of completing his journey at Georgia Tech and is soon to be the proud recipient of a Master’s degree in Cybersecurity. Describing himself as an avid sports enthusiast outside the classroom, he believes that having studied alongside those focusing on other specialty areas of cybersecurity and being exposed to a diverse mix of perspectives will serve him well as he prepares to take his first full-time job. 

Now 24, Maneel wanted to get school out of the way and resisted the temptation to go straight into the tech industry with his computer engineering bachelor’s credentials. He thinks he’s better prepared now to face a high-growth, fast-paced tech sector, especially that of information security, an area that he believes will challenge him for the foreseeable future.    

Maneel is undeniably energized as he heads out to start his career and leverage all that he has learned. He aims to absorb as much as he can by taking on varied projects and working toward the long-term growth that the field promises. With cybersecurity professionals constantly in demand across industries, Maneel’s prospects to do exactly that look very good indeed. – JP

Maneel Manish Modi


Program Highlights: The breadth of the program within the Information Security track was probably my favorite part of it. Taking a number of courses across the different subdomains of the vast sphere that is security ensured that we had a sufficient background in all of them while giving us the opportunity to pursue what we were really interested in going forward. 

Another great aspect was the option to take elective courses offered primarily to students pursuing the Policy or Cyber-Physical Systems tracks. I strongly believe that taking the courses covering cybersecurity policies and privacy regulations were key to coming out of Georgia Tech with a well-rounded knowledge of the domain.

Parting Advice: You’ll do just fine! Things can get intense (especially during the Information Security Laboratory course!) but my experience with professors and classmates has been extremely positive – everyone has been really helpful and understanding. I wasn’t sure coming right after my undergraduate degree was the right choice but looking back now, I have no regrets whatsoever. 

What’s Next: The last two years have been unforgettable, and I’d like to thank my family and friends for all their support and encouragement. I’m looking forward to getting out there and gaining some experience in the industry and see where that takes me. I’ve learnt a lot, both inside and outside the classroom, and hope to stay in touch with all the amazing people I’ve met on this journey. Until next time, Georgia Tech.

Stealth Mode

Career Computer Engineer Jada Brock Has a Whole New Respect for Digital Privacy and Cybersecurity

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Georgia Tech’s graduate course in Privacy, Technology, Policy and Law had an unintended consequence for Jada Brock – it scared her into going incognito on the web.

The same semester, she took the Security Operations and Incidents Response course – taught by former GT CISO Jimmy Lummis and where students learn about tools hackers use – and the two classes together put Jada on the path to minimizing her digital footprint. (She insists both were among her favorite courses).

Jada says that the conservative approach to her online presence is also part of her broader responsibility to the public. She works in a government agency that deals with critical infrastructure, and she understands the real-world consequences that cyber threats pose.

“Maybe when I retire, I’ll start putting more pictures online,” she jokes.

Jada has more than 20 years of public service and has constantly moved forward along with the IT field. Her new degree from the Online Master of Science in Cybersecurity degree program from Georgia Tech shows this continued commitment.

Cybersecurity seemed like a perfect fit for a career computing engineer who had already lived through Y2K and has an awareness of what is at stake in an increasingly networked world. She decided to get into cybersecurity after learning from a coworker about Georgia Tech’s online program.

Her newfound cyber skills prompted her to make a budget request at her agency for new backup servers. It worked.

“Nothing is better than backups,” she says, then laughs.

Jada is one of three women in the OMS Cyber program graduating in spring 2021. The three are the first women to graduate from the two-year-old program and, in doing so, are making Georgia Tech history. Jada is proud of this fact, but it’s not something you’ll see her sharing online anytime soon. We did that for her. – JP



Program Highlights: I felt the level of knowledge from each professor was honestly top-notch.  Every instructor is at the top of their field and this shows as you begin your coursework. Class offerings are balanced and relevant to what’s happening now in cybersecurity. I found working on projects and weekly assignments rewarding and the online platform made communication with fellow classmates and instructor’s no different than sitting in a classroom on campus.

Parting Advice: If you are considering this program at Georgia Tech, do not hesitate – enroll.  You will be amazed at the quality of the program and pace. Plus, you can never go wrong having the Georgia Institute of Technology on your résumé for your education. 

Women join this program and take the world by storm. Do not feel intimidated.  As one of the few females in this program, I never experienced discrimination and was always treated equally in the classroom by everyone. If you enroll, you will be glad that you took this step to educate yourself at this prestigious institution. 

What’s Next: I am a career government employee in the technology field. I plan on using my knowledge to protect my workplace and colleagues against cyber-related threats. Most likely I will begin studying for the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification. The coursework for the OMS in Cybersecurity program at Georgia Tech has prepared me well for this certification and will exponentially enrich my contributions in the workplace.

Twice a Yellow Jacket

After 20 Years of Professional Experience, Paul Konikowski Finishes Round Two at Georgia Tech

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There’s a common refrain among students who make it through Georgia Tech’s classrooms and come out the other side with a degree: I Got Out. It’s a badge of honor and a shared bond among those who endure the institute’s rigorous academic demands. More than a few of those men and women choose to come back and further their education, knowing full well what awaits them. Paul Konikowski, Manager of AV Contracting at HB Communications, is one such alum. His BS in computer engineering will now share wall space with a master of science in cybersecurity, which Paul earned this spring. The master’s came 20 years after the baccalaureate.

Now 44, Paul has had the distinction of going through the Georgia Tech gauntlet both in-person and online. He is among the first graduates in the Online Master of Science in Cybersecurity, which turned two this year. Paul was part of the first 250 students who were accepted into the online master’s program. – JP

Paul Konikowski


Program highlights: What I really liked about this program was the mix of structure and flexibility. I am the type of person who works best when I have a deadline to meet. The weekly videos, reading assignments, projects, papers, quizzes and exams, all helped to keep me on track towards the degree. At the same time, the asynchronous, online format of the program allowed me to find my own time each week for doing the work, while juggling a full-time job and freelance audiovisual installation projects.

Parting advice: If you are interested in a master’s program or any other higher education, but you think you are “too old” to go back to school, I’m here to tell you, you aren’t too old. I was really worried I wouldn’t be able to comprehend the material but was pleasantly surprised how well my brain worked after so many years away from formal education. And I’m not the only one; a large percentage of my classmates were over 40, 50, or even 60 years old.  Trust me, you are NOT too old, you CAN do this, and your brain WILL work!

What’s next: I hope to leverage my experience in AV (audiovisual) and ICT (information and communications technology) and combine them with the skills and knowledge I gained in the cybersecurity master’s program. There is a growing need for security-minded individuals in the IoT industry, and I hope to be a thought-leader in the space, being the “bridge” between the technical folks and the non-technical people who are responsible for creating and enforcing the security policies within their organizations. In terms of learning, my next step is to research hardware vulnerabilities and tainted firmware attacks, maybe set up a test lab, and try to ethically hack some audiovisual devices. I really enjoy teaching others about cybersecurity, and writing articles for AV/IT/IoT industry magazines.

Road Warrior

Becky Borrebach Hits Her Stride in a Year of Big Personal Changes

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Becky Borrebach has the distinction of being one of the first three women to graduate from the Online Master of Science in Cybersecurity degree program at Georgia Tech. With her new degree and an upcoming new job (she’s headed to the Pentagon), Becky is enjoying the moment.

Previously stationed in Georgia, the U.S. Army captain remembers the first and only time she visited Tech’s campus. She and her husband Drew, a fellow Army officer, were stationed clear across the state from one another – Drew at Fort Benning in Columbus and Becky at Fort Gordon in Augusta – and had to make long weekend drives to see each other.

Becky jokes that the long Friday rush-hour road trips were like her own personal “Highway 20 Ride,” a somber country song by the Zac Brown Band. The couple eventually decided for a change of scenery and started weekend getaways to Atlanta every other weekend. They would meet in the middle – talking on the phone all the way – and then turn into tourists, visiting all the sites the city had to offer. After Becky got accepted to Georgia Tech, she added a new tourist destination to her list.

That solitary trip was during a summer, when campus is slow, and she got to loiter and hang out for a few hours. She bought everything she thought she’d need at the campus bookstore before heading out to her current duty station in Hawaii. The Georgia Tech ballcap she bought is now primarily sported by Drew, who often wears it to show off how proud he is of Becky.

On Becky’s bucket list is watching a football game at Bobby Dodd. With the Pentagon only a few hours away and her practiced road trip skills, we hope to see her soon. – JP

U.S. Army Capt. Becky Borrebach pictured with her husband and U.S. Army Capt. Drew Borrebach in Hawaii.


Program highlights: The highlight of the Georgia Tech OMS Cybersecurity program has been the ability to continue my full time job in the military while completing the program. The flexibility of the program has allowed me to travel overseas for work, attend a three-week training exercise in Louisiana with limited connectivity, and complete my coursework from the beautiful state of Hawaii, a six-hour time difference from Georgia Tech. In addition to this, the program is constantly evolving and adding new relevant curriculum. I feel that I have been able to stay on the cutting edge of the cybersecurity field with the courses offered. 

Parting Advice: Don’t be afraid to get outside of your comfort zone! The program offers multiple different tracks and each student is able to take electives outside of their selected track. I selected the Policy track and was hesitant to take the Data Analytics and Security class due to its very technical nature. I took a chance, enrolled myself in the course, and it ended up being one of my favorite courses in the program. Challenge yourself – you will not regret it!

What’s Next: Up next, I will be moving with my family to the National Capitol Region to work at the Pentagon on the U.S. Army’s new human resources system. I am excited to take what I have learned throughout my time at Georgia Tech and continue to apply it to my work!

Making Moves

Overseas Graduate Kristine Diomampo Never Dreamed of a Cybersecurity Career

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Kristine Diomampo is farther from Georgia Tech’s Atlanta campus than most of her fellow spring graduates. Her home and job in Hong Kong is more than 8,300 miles away and a 12-hour time difference. But the Philippines native didn’t let that become a barrier to her earning an online Master of Science degree in Cybersecurity (OMS Cyber).

Kristine’s grad school experience has been like a self-feeding loop – go online for class, learn through her projects and peers, integrate that new knowledge at work, then rinse and repeat. Adding to that virtuous cycle was a promotion at her job, where she is now an IT security auditor.

Originally armed with a bachelor’s in accountancy, Kristine’s first job out of college was at an assurance and tax services firm as an IT auditor – it was the only job opening the firm had available. Her subsequent IT and business background in banking and insurance led her to Hong Kong. Now, almost five years later, Kristine has her sights set on becoming a cybersecurity analyst or consultant and then maybe a move to cybersecurity management or architecture.

Her love of learning will continue (she lives and breathes IT when not traveling or writing) with a pile of books and certifications awaiting her after graduation as she continues studying cybersecurity.

Kristine has a claim on a new part of Georgia Tech history in earning her recent degree – she is one of the first three women to complete the OMS Cyber program. All three are spring 2021 graduates. Kristine can take pause to marvel at this accomplishment and look back to where it all started with the happy accident of an accountant getting into IT. – JP


Program highlights: I always thought I had very poor technical cybersecurity skills and I wasn’t confident in what I knew. I’ve never hacked nor coded anything; all I knew about security vulnerabilities were theoretical. But through the course, I was able to work on a variety of projects that allowed me to discover on my own how to crack passwords or how buffer overflows work. The sense of accomplishment in successfully completing projects encouraged me to continue with my courses and the program. I was also able to apply what I learned from the program to my job, further solidifying what I learned in class. The program gave me the structure I needed to expand my learning, and I can use that to boost any further independent learning that I wish to pursue.

Parting Advice: It can be easy to feel isolated and alone as you tackle your projects and assignments. Afterall, the program delivery is online and your classmates are scattered all over the world. This is where you take advantage of communication tools to build connections with other people in the program. Many late night study sessions were made more fun by talking with other people, and there were those that provided much needed guidance and encouraging words (even humor) when my projects wouldn’t work. Just because the program is online doesn’t mean that meaningful friendships can’t be made. So feel free to reach out to your classmates and even find a study buddy or two!

What’s Next: I actually got promoted at work because of the program! Because I was pursuing a masters in cybersecurity, I was given the opportunity to move from being a generalist IT auditor to being an IT security auditor and working on more technical assignments. This was even before I graduated! I plan to hone my cybersecurity technical skills even more (I already have a pile of security books to go through) and to pursue security certifications. I hope to someday move into information security operations in my organization and have hands-on experience on implementing controls in the workplace.