Phoenix Dimagiba

Phoenix Dimagiba
Network Engineering Technology & Cybersecurity (CIT)

What made you decide to choose your specific major?

I was a five-year participant in the CyberPatriot program, which made me realize that I enjoyed cybersecurity and wanted to continue with it after high school. My decision to come to Purdue and major in cybersecurity was a natural next step.

What are a couple of your favorite things about your program of study?

I really appreciate the number of projects and labs we do in my major, department and the Polytechnic Institute as a whole. While lectures can be interesting and meaningful ways to learn, hands-on application feels like a much better way for me to ensure I actually understand the content we go over in class.

What has been one of your favorite class projects?

One project I’ve done in CNIT 176 (Information Technology Architectures) involved a Raspberry Pi. The professor left several options open for students to choose from; the one I did was making the Pi into a combination VPN + adblocker. The cool thing about this project is that it’s still usable past the class end date. My Pi server is still running at home.

What other activities are you involved in on campus?

Outside of class, I’m a reporter for Purdue’s student-run newspaper, The Exponent. I’m also a member of the Purdue Filipino Association and the Asian American Association, which are great ways to meet people, make friends and keep in touch with my heritage.

What was something unique about one of your summer internships?

I worked for Northrop Grumman this past summer and will be working for CrowdStrike this coming summer. Due to the pandemic, both internships are remote. This didn’t take away from the experience I gained working with professionals in my field, and it seems like both companies have worked out a decent system for handling remote intern work.

Can you share with us a little bit about your study abroad experience?

Though the pandemic makes study abroad impractical right now, I was fortunate enough to study Cybersecurity in the United Kingdom in high school through the U.S. Embassy in London. Studying abroad was a really fun way to learn about both cybersecurity and another country’s culture. I now have international contacts that I consider good friends and professional colleagues.

What do you know about your program of study now that you wish you had known when you were choosing a major?

I think it’s important to remember that everyone in the department is here to help! Though I had a good amount of prior experience before studying here, it’s by no means a prerequisite. Professors and TAs (teaching assistants) do their best to make themselves accessible, and the department does a good job of making sure students know they’re supported.

What would be one piece of advice for prospective students or new Purdue students?

Join a club and/or get involved on campus! While grinding out classes and getting your degree are both important, it’s also important to take breaks and do things you like. Part of being a Boilermaker is making connections with other people, so make sure you don’t waste away behind a desk all the time!