Being a computer scientist at the FBI requires broad knowledge in multiple areas of information technology. The variety of computer and information technology classes that Purdue Polytechnic provides helped prepare me perfectly for the new role I am about to start.
Caroline Moolenaar
Cybersecurity '21
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Caroline Moolenaar

Cybersecurity '21
Computer Scientist for Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

Who would you like to thank as you finish your time at Purdue and start your career?

One of the people I would like to thank is Dr. Dawn Laux, who taught my SQL Database course. One of the first things that stood out to me about her was that she took the time to learn every single person's name in the class, no matter how long it took her. Her teaching style was also one of my favorites at Purdue; she has an amazing way of explaining even the most complicated concepts in an easy-to-understand way.

Another person I would like to thank is Dr. Umit Karabiyik, who taught my cyber forensics and mobile forensics classes. What I really appreciate about Dr. K is that you can tell how passionate he is about what he teaches, and he's always happy to the time to help you really learn about the topics and get hands-on experience with what's being taught. He's also always available and willing to talk about extracurricular activities and give career advice, which was a great resource to have senior year. 

What specific classes helped prepare you for your new job?

The network security class I took with Professor Rawles was one of the biggest turning points of my growth of knowledge here at Purdue. The labs required the students to really learn networking and network security in great depth, preparing me for being able to analyze and understand network infrastructure... because we have personally set up all the components before!

Another great class in which I learned ins-and-outs of digital filesystems was my digital forensics class. This class allowed us to choose a device to conduct a semester-long investigation on the information you can retrieve from that device forensically. The experience I gained in this class will greatly help me in the future when conducting any forensic analysis on digital devices. 

My Incident Response class was a great opportunity to learn about how to respond to a variety of cyber threats and subsequently mitigate them. We were able to create our own machines that were attacked and later analyze all different parts of the machine to see if we could determine the perpetrator and repair the problem. This helped prepare me for real-world investigations of cyberattacks such as malware and denial of service incidents. 

If you had a favorite class, project, experience, or professor, what/who was it, and why?

One of my favorite classes I took here at Purdue was the C# Programming class freshman year. Before coming to college, I had zero programming experience. I probably wouldn't have even been able to list one programming language if you asked me! Coming into this major and seeing all my peers seemingly comfortable with all types of programming, I was a little intimidated and especially nervous. The fist programming class I ever took was freshman year with Guity Ravai. She was so welcoming and made sure to put all students with no programming experience at ease. She had an amazing way of explaining the foundations of programming, ideas that I still take with me to this day when programming in various languages. At the end of the semester, we were able to pick a fun project to create and apply all the pieces of knowledge we had learned about coding to that project. That class gave me the confidence to know that no matter how little experience in a certain area I felt like I had coming into college, I would be given the opportunity and the tools to learn the necessary skills to make me successful in this field.