Carnegie Mellon University
August 05, 2019

INI students to attend Diana Initiative 2019

Three INI students are headed to Las Vegas for conference supporting women, diversity, and inclusion in information security.

By Deana Lorenzo

Jessica Shirley
  • Director of Strategic Communications

This year, the Information Networking Institute (INI) is a proud sponsor of the Diana Initiative, an annual conference for women, diversity, and inclusion in information security. Coinciding with DefCon, BSides and Black Hat in Las Vegas, it is part of one of the biggest weeks of the year for the information security community, also known as “hacker summer camp.”

Since 2016, the Diana Initiative has sought to celebrate, empower and increase the number of women in the security field. The conference aims to connect those who identify as women and non-binary with the platform, resources, and community to overcome obstacles specific to women in security.

"This is a team that works above and beyond just talking about inclusion and diversity—they live it!” said Kat Fitzgerald, Diana Initiative Chief Operating Officer (COO) and principal security architect at Uber ATG. “We are extremely excited to welcome and support diverse students with the help of many individuals and company sponsors. At the Diana Initiative, we truly believe this community thrives best when we lift and support each other—it is how we all make a difference in the community that is infosec."  

This year’s lineup will include 50 speakers covering topics from encryption to elevator pitches, as well as workshops and career networking opportunities, and a women-led Capture the Flag (CTF) event.

In addition to being a sponsor, the INI will host a Career Village, offering resume reviews and leading discussions on applying to graduate school.

“The INI is a strong advocate for diversity in information security. We’re proud to sponsor a conference committed to changing workplace culture while also empowering and supporting women and non-binary individuals in the security field,” said Dr. Dena Haritos Tsamitis, director of the INI. “I hope that all attendees, especially my INI students, will walk away feeling inspired and welcomed into the community."

INI second-year master’s students Huanxin Ding, Dimple Gandhi, and Marjan Salamati-Pour will participate the two-day-long conference. The three students are looking forward to attending talks on cutting edge, real-world security topics and gaining career mentoring from information security professionals.


Ding, who received the Diana Initiative’s student scholarship, is in the second year of her Master of Science in Information Security—Mobility (MSIS-MOB). She is a CTF enthusiast who is most interested in web security and encryption/decryption. “I have some experience with CTF contests,” Ding said. “Trying hard to capture the flag is really interesting and brings me satisfaction when I work it out.”

Gandhi, an M.S. in Information Networking (MSIN) student, is currently working on a research project this summer that sparked her interest in the security field. She is eager to learn more about password security, exploiting web apps, data-driven incident forecasting, and penetration testing. “I am also looking forward to learning some new skills from the workshops on soldering, lockpicking, and CTF,” she said. 

M.S. in Information Security (MSIS) student Salamati-Pour hopes to increase her knowledge of CTFs and penetration testing. “I really want to use my time at the conference as an extension of my education and learn about topics that I might not be taught at CMU,” she added. “I also hope to find some inspiration on where I should go after I graduate.”

The conference will take place at the Westin Las Vegas on August 9-10, 2019. More information and a full schedule can be found on the Diana Initiative website.