Val Elfreich

Val Elfreich
Cybersecurity (CIT) and Digital Criminology

What made you decide to choose your specific major?

I chose Cybersecurity because it has been a goal of mine to go work at the FBI one day. I also have a love for ever-changing technology and the challenges that would come my way. Problem-solving is one of my strong suites, and I think Cybersecurity perfectly aligns with that. Digital Criminology is a recent addition and I added it because the digital world is always changing. I've had an interest in crime shows and interrogations for a while and it was a good pair to Cybersecurity so I went for it. 

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

I like how involved I am with everything, especially with labs. The labs aren't just research-based or "look at this data", it's actually coding and solving problems. Being able to be hands-on in all of my classes so far has been really interesting. I've also enjoyed getting to learn so many new things and advance my knowledge in the field. Finding a bunch of new and cool friends in all my classes has also been an additional bonus!

What has been one of your favorite class projects?

In a class called TECH 120 (Design Thinking in Technology), I had a final project that I completed which involved solving a challenge. Within a group of 5, our group was meant to solve the issue of Advanced Personalized Learning. We brainstormed different ideas but managed to create what we called a "game kit". It would be a kit that came with a board, timer, dice, and flashcards. But what was unique about the flashcards is that they were laminated in order to allow them to be reused utilizing dry-erase markers. I am super proud of how this project turned out and how my group worked together to complete this project.

What other activities are you involved in on campus?

I am a member of Women in Technology (WiT) and Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS). I also partook in Boiler Box Band during the Fall Semester in which I played in the band during volleyball games.

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

When I was choosing Cybersecurity, I wish someone had told me that it's okay to ask your professors for help and clarification. I know that's a very general piece of advice, but it can be very easy to just not want to message for clarification on assignments or notes in class. Plus, I also wish someone had emphasized how nice all the professors are. They really want to help you succeed, so don't be afraid to send them an email!

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

My piece of advice would be to join at least one club when you start out. Getting involved in a club is such an easy way to make friends and branch out on campus. Starting out in a new environment and coming in not knowing anyone can be really scary, but joining a club and making friends helps you become more comfortable on campus and with other people. 

Have questions? Email me at