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Global Impact

INI's Woman of Influence


Dena Tsamitis — director of Carnegie Mellon's Information Networking Institute and CyLab's director of education, training and outreach — was recently recognized by her peers in the security community with the "Women of Influence" award.

Playing a key role in INI's ability to offer programs in information technology and security worldwide, Tsamitis received the award at the 6th Annual Executive Women's Forum on Information Security, Risk Management and Privacy.

"There is a growing need for professionals in information security and assurance on a global scale, and our students are in high demand," she said.

According to a 2006 report by the Department of Management at the London School of Economics, she noted, a large number of companies rely on a very small pool of internal talent for handling compliance and security projects.

"In recent years, our graduating classes have achieved a 100 percent placement rate at graduation. Although a few have gone into Ph.D. programs, the majority enter the workforce in a variety of industries in a wide range of leadership positions such as engineers, researchers, developers, analysts and consultants."

Tsamitis says it's the coursework that makes Carnegie Mellon's programs unique.

"Our coursework gives students a unique blend of the technologies, economics and policies of secure communication networks to equip them for future positions of leadership," she explained. "Students value the international perspective shared in the classroom and the different approaches to problem-solving and teaching across cultures."

That sentiment certainly was reflected at this year's "Destination 2008" orientation, which brought together more than 140 students from six campus locations to Pittsburgh for 10 days. Programs from Silicon Valley; Athens, Greece; Kobe, Japan; and Aveiro and Lisbon, Portugal were represented.

"It not only let us international students get a feel of what it is like to be part of Carnegie Mellon but it also really let us see and meet our other international peers found worldwide," said Sally Yanagihara (INI '09), a graduate student in Information Technology-Information Security (MSIT-IS) in Kobe. "Destination 2008 really took away the borders and boundaries and I really hope this will continue."

Graduates of the programs often use their education to make an impact in their home countries. IntracomTelecom has hired many of the Athens graduates, while Hiroki Hisamitsu (INI '08), a recent MSIT-IS graduate in Kobe, did a research project on e-voting that attracted national attention in Japan.

In Argentina, Juan Jose Cukier (INI '00) is an appraiser of procedures and quality control used in software development. He has also consulted with companies in Armenia, Chile, Mexico and Spain. The results of his work have included improving quality and ensuring predictability and profitability.

Cukier uses a process model he learned from Carnegie Mellon's SEI to appraise software development internationally.

"Students are attracted to our interdisciplinary coursework that exposes them to business and policy as well as computer science and engineering," Tsamitis explained. "Carnegie Mellon has top-rated colleges in these areas, so students develop a highly valuable skill set."

For electives, students may choose to take courses from, for example, the Tepper School of Business or Heinz School of Public Policy & Management, Tsamitis added.

"Some students pick a single topic on which to focus during their time here, while others choose to branch out into an area that complements their technology expertise," she said.

Related Links: Information Networking Institute  |  College of Engineering  |  The Global University

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