Student Spotlights

Our Information Systems Student Spotlights showcase how the IS Department is a community of innovators and leaders making an impact on our world.


COEIT winners standing in a group with their certificates

COEIT Students Win Info Challenge 2024Leon Tang, Oluwatimilehin Olayinka, Dale Neumeister,  and Christopher Humbert recently won the University of Maryland’s Info Challenge 2024 award for Outstanding Cybersecurity Project. In this Q&A, the team took the time to talk to us about how they first became interested in cybersecurity and share details on what they worked on during their Info Challenge project. They leave us with advice for undergraduate students looking to get involved in the field and share their upcoming plans for the student organization Information Systems Security Association, UMBC Chapter.


Rachael M. Kang photo standing outside in front of stone monumentsMonday, April 29, 12-1pm, Rachael M. Kang will give a virtual presentation titled, “ChatGPT & AI in Research, Education, and the Classroom” as part of the Albin O. Kuhn Library’s AI, Privacy, and Ethics Symposium. Kang shares why she chose UMBC, what she will discuss in her upcoming talk, and how ChatGPT and AI have raised new questions for her research.



Chris Fortney headshot

Chris Fortney is currently enrolled in our Online MS program. He graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art with a BFA in 2014 concentrating in graphic design and painting. Fortney is currently the Project/Lab Manager for the Immersive Simulation Program (ISP) at the National Human Genome Research Institute where he develops custom virtual reality simulations for conducting experimental human trials. He takes the time to talk about his work at NHGRI, his interest in the cross section of technology, research, and design and why it is important to value and nourish your creative process.



kirk crawford selfieKirk A. Crawford ’14, information systems, M.S. ’16, human-centered computing, is a Product Manager and Research Advisor at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and is currently enrolled in our Ph.D. in Human-Centered Computing program. He talks about his research interests, what his day-to-day position at the IRS looks like, and shares why pursuing his academic and professional careers at the same time is important to him.



photo of women posing against a wallYetunde Okueso is currently in our MS in Human-Centered Computing program. She received her undergraduate degree in Literature from the Babcock University in Nigeria in 2017 and is expected to graduate from the MS HCC program in December 2023. Okueso kindly shares with us how she first became interested in HCC, her thoughts on usability, and why she is choosing to continue her education at UMBC.



God’sfavour Sunday headshoot, standing in front of a wall wearing a suitGod’sfavour Sunday is currently in our combined BS to MS program. Sunday is expected to finish with the BS in Information Systems in December 2023 and the MS in Human-Centered Computing in the fall of 2024. Sunday takes time to answer some questions for us about usability, how he got interested in the combined program, and his plans after graduation.



Jennifer Posada Granados ’21 is a current master’s student in our Human-Centered Computing program. She graduated with her BA in Psychology from UMBC in 2021 and plans on graduating with her MS in Human-Centered Computing in Spring 2024. She was kind enough to share with us stories about her Salvadorean roots, her switch from Psychology to Human-Centered Computing, and how she is able to blend her creativity with her academic interests.


karina lopez-brown headshotKarina Lopez-Brown ’21 received her BS in Information Systems from UMBC, and is currently in our Information Systems MS program with a cybersecurity track, expecting to graduate in December 2024. She shares with us about her grandmother’s teachings, how CWIT and the Cyber Scholars Program sparked her interest in cybersecurity and offers cybersecurity tips and tricks for students to protect themselves online.



person standing on the mall in washington, DC wth a monument in the background

Yosi Montes de Oca is a current graduate student in our Human-Centered Computing Program. She kindly agreed to share with us about her Venezuelan heritage, how her background in architecture and sustainable design led her to UX design and Human-Centered Computing, and talks about her internship experience with Amazon.




Mei-Lain Vader headshot Mei-Lian Vader ’22 is a current second-year Ph.D. student in our Human-Centered Computing program and is expected to graduate in 2027. She received her BS in Mechanical Engineering from UMBC in 2022. Mei-Lian kindly shares with us how she first got interested in accessible technology research, her experiences as a graduate assistant, and what she is most excited about for this semester.



Harshal Vijay Nandanwar headshotHarshal Vijay Nandanwar is currently in our Human-Centered Computing MS program and talks with us about his passion for graphic design, creating user-friendly interfaces and what he is most excited about for the upcoming semester.




Shiva Sai headshotShiva Sai Prasad Lokini is a current Health Information Technology graduate student and recent recipient of the CAHIMS Certification. He shares with us his experience as a graduate student.




Shawnda Littlejohn selfieShawnda Littlejohn a tax accountant, shares with us why she opted for a career change, her love of coffee, and the versatility of data science.





Jack Lopez and familyJack Lopez is a current graduate student in our Online MS program. He was kind enough to answer questions about his Puerto Rican heritage and why he chose to study at UMBC and strengthen his software architecture background.




Kayla Tomas spotlightKayla Tomas ’23 shares stories of her Peruvian roots, how she is able to succeed at UMBC, and what her plans are for the future.





Maria Lopez Delgado headshotMaria Lopez Delgado is a first-year Ph.D student and shares why she chose to study at UMBC.




Courtney Burkett headshotCourtney Burkett recently started her second year as a graduate student took time to answer questions about how she got interested in cybersecurity as a career, gives advice to prospective students, and how she gets to travel the world playing professional football!