Carnegie Mellon University
May 31, 2024

INI Diploma Ceremony 2024 Reflects on Past Achievements and Looks Towards the Future

By Evan Lybrand

INI communications

Family and friends gathered on Sunday, May 12, at the Information Networking Institute (INI) diploma ceremony to celebrate the culmination of the hard work and dedication of the 2024 graduating class. 113 students gathered with loved ones and supporters at Rodef Shalom for the ceremony.   

dena_and_sammy_2024.jpgThe 2024 INI diploma ceremony held a special significance: this year marks Dr. Dena Haritos Tsamitis’s 20th year as director of the INI. In her annual address, Haritos Tsamitis reflected on her two decades of leadership and shared her wisdom with students as they prepared to enter a global community of over 2,800 INI alumni.  

“This year, my message to you is this: remember to live well,” she said. “Surrounded by hard-working individuals and driven by the desire to solve problems, we often become too narrowly focused on professional goals. But you're more than your education and future career successes. I encourage you to keep your eye on that broader vision. Living well means nourishing your soul, engaging with the world in ways that align with your values and not losing sight of what truly matters.”  

The INI has a vibrant and engaged community that grows with each new cohort of graduates. And this community is what Haritos Tsamitis believes should not be forgotten. “I can promise you this,” she said. “Twenty years from now, when you look back at your accomplishments, you will value your community and relationships just as highly as you value your career successes — if not more.” 

sammy_speaking.jpgKeynote speaker Samuel Edoho-Eket continued the theme of self reflection in his address, reflecting on the nature of time. “The one thing I do know about time is that it is limited,” he said. “No matter howmuch wealth, no matter how much success you accumulate over the years, just remember that your time is valuable. It is the one thing you cannot get back.” 

Edoho-Eket graduated from the INI’s Master of Science in Information Networking (MSIN) program in 2004. At the INI, he also earned the distinction of being a CyberCorps® Scholarship for Service (SFS) scholar, a competitive program that prepares graduates for cybersecurity careers in the federal government. Following his graduation, Edoho-Eket served with the Department of Defense and then went on to found PrismSix Technologies, an information technology consulting company.  Edoho-Eket was inducted into the SFS Hall of Fame in January 2024 for his outstanding contributions to national defense; Haritos Tsamitis presented him with the award during the ceremony in Washington, D.C., where she asked him to present the 2024 keynote address to graduating INI students.

 “My message to you, my fellow graduates, is to value your time. Act with urgency and go about your life as if every moment was precious and there is not a second to waste.” 
– Samuel Edoho-Eket

Throughout his speech, Edoho-Eket reinforced the powerful nature of time, reminiscing about his journey from INI student to cybersecurity professional. He noted some of his personal challenges, successes and memories of his time on campus, culminating in a dedication and acknowledgment of the incredible work done by Haritos Tsamitis throughout her 20 years as director. “It’s been an honor to go through my career, look over my shoulder, and see the INI continue to grow and thrive,” he said. 

Following Edoho-Eket’s address, INI founder Dr. Marvin Sirbu took the stage to recognize the 113 graduates in attendance who now join a global network of industry and government leaders.  

Award Nominees

Shreya Deepak
Aditya Desai
Nandankumar Desai
Neha Gautam
Ankshit Jain
Jiin Jeong
Jiarui Li
Sherry Yikun Liu
Aditya Malhotra
Sumukh Shivarudra Murthy
Ronghao Ni

Award Winners

Outstanding Student Service Award for a Teaching Assistant 

Yikun (Sherry) Liu, MSIS 
Nominated by Hanan Hibshi 


 “Sherry is one of the most exceptional TAs I have had the privilege to work with since joining the INI. Sherry maintains a highly mature, organized and responsible character that it is easy to forget sometimes that she is still a student in the program. She is sharp, hardworking, creative, independent and follows a rigorous well-detailed approach. She fearlessly expands the boundaries of her skills, readily embracing challenging tasks.” 

Outstanding Student Service Award for a Research Assistant 

Ronghao Ni, MSIN 
Nominated by Giulia Fanti 


“The thing that impressed me most about Ronghao is his tenacity and his creativity, along with his technical skills. It is rare to find an M.S. student research assistant who is able to drive a project, especially one that requires algorithmic advances. Ronghao did so very capably, and I believe he is one of the strongest M.S. RAs I have ever encountered at CMU.” 

INI Leadership Award

Jiin Jeong, MSIS and SFS Scholar 
Nominated by Joanne C. Peca and David Brumley 


“Jiin is passionate not only about furthering her own education, but also about integrating, applying and sharing the knowledge she has gained. I am hard-pressed to think of any student who has made such a concerted effort to maximize their time and impact at the INI as Jiin has.” 

Innocent Habiyaremya Memorial Award 

Neha Gautam, MSIT-IS 
Nominated by Cynthia Kuo  


“Neha serves as an inspiration for other students with her engagement, maturity, and kindness. Her actions demonstrate her willingness to mentor and guide those around her. She is a natural leader who exhibits grit and sympathy for others’ challenges. She represents the best of the INI.”