Born in Tennessee, and raised in California, Toni Benn attributes her passion for interculturalism and technology to her family’s legacy of public service. She studied in Greece and taught English in Spain and South Korea. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Howard University, and certifications in Project Management and Amazon Web Services. Toni is pursuing an M.S. in Management of Technology at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering.
Jacquetta Cook is a first-generation college student, holding a bachelor’s degree from Florida A&M University and an MBA from the University of Florida. She has traveled to the Dominican Republic and China, interned as a teacher at Ghana International School, and interned at the U.S. Embassy Windhoek in Namibia. Jacquetta will pursue a Master of Computing and Information Technology at University of Pennsylvania.
Anass El Bekkari
A first-generation American, Anass El Bekkari came to the U.S. from Morocco as an international student in 2013. He earned three associate degrees from Cuyahoga Community College and a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems from Franklin University. He is pursuing a master’s degree in cyber security from Franklin University. Anass is tri-lingual in English, Arabic and French. He enjoys flying drones for recreation.
Jolene Farley, from Southern California, is pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Computer Science at Oregon State University. She completed her lower division work at Riverside City College where she worked on the editorial staff on MUSE, the college’s literary journal. As a military spouse, Jolene has lived and traveled in South Korea and Japan. Aside from school she enjoys roller skating, volunteering in her local community, and studying languages.
Born and raised in Austin, Texas, Conrad Finos is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity at the University of Texas at San Antonio. At UTSA, he is a member of CompTIA, a club dedicated to enhancing students’ cyber skills, and is enrolled in the UTSA Honors College. His hobbies include long distance running, rock climbing, mountain biking, drawing, and martial arts. Conrad speaks Spanish and Japanese.
Born and raised in Albania, Elton Hima became a U.S. citizen in 2014 and is a first-generation college graduate from the University of Maryland Global Campus. He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and is pursuing a Master of Science in Cybersecurity at Brown University. Elton has lived in several countries, speaks French, Italian, and Albanian, and enjoys hiking, discovering new restaurants and reading books.
Born in New York, Faith Lin grew up in Hong Kong and is fluent in English, Mandarin-Chinese, and Cantonese. She is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from The Cooper Union. She has studied in Singapore and has volunteered on service trips to Cambodia, Xiamen China, and Macau. Faith enjoys traveling, cycling, photography, and volunteering.
Adetokunbo “Tomi” Okunoye, a first-generation Nigerian-American, was born in Banjul, Gambia, and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. He has lived and traveled in The Gambia, Nigeria, Finland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Tomi earned a Bachelor of Science in Life Sciences and an MBA from Xavier University. He is interested in cloud technology and is pursuing a Master in Information Technology at the University of Cincinnati.
Chad Peterson was born in Utah and primarily raised in the Northern Virginia, but he calls North Carolina, where he graduated from high school, “home.” Peterson is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. He is fluent in Korean and is currently studying Mandarin Chinese. Peterson plays jazz trombone and sings baritone.
Kathryn Riordan, a native of Columbus, Indiana, is pursuing a B.S. in Cybersecurity and Global Policy at Indiana University. Riordan led the Diplomacy Lab at Hamilton Lugar, working with the Bureau of Diplomatic Security to integrate AI into their efforts, and was a 2021 X-Force Fellow with the Department of Defense. In her free time, she enjoys helping to train service dogs with her family, playing ping pong, and teaching young students to code.
Born in Jordan and raised in Louisiana, Jamal Seder is a first-generation college student, pursuing a bachelor’s and accelerated master’s degree in computer science at the University of New Orleans. In the classroom, he has proven to be a highly skilled programmer/computer scientist and an inspiring leader. Jamal is a devout Muslim, fluent in Arabic and English, and enjoys maintaining relations within his community both at home and abroad.
Born and raised in Nigeria, Prince Uduka came to the United States after finishing high school at the age of 18. A first-generation college student, Prince earned an associate degree at Central Piedmont Community College and is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in information technology with a concentration on cybersecurity at Kennesaw State University. He is a member of the Mu Alpha Theta Honor Society. Prince is fluent in English and Igbo.
Born and raised in northwest Indiana, Jacob Williams earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations and global service from Valparaiso University. He has studied in Arabic language programs in Jordan and Palestine, and he was a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer focusing on youth development in Morocco. Jacob will pursue a master’s degree in cybersecurity and risk management policy. He speaks multiple dialects of Arabic.
Andy Wu, a second-generation Chinese American and first-generation college student, earned his bachelor’s degree from Lehigh University. Andy won a Gilman Scholarship to Hong Kong in 2019 and he is a 2021-2022 Gilman Alumni Ambassador. In fall 2022, he will enter the Master of Information Systems Management (MISM) – Global degree program at Carnegie Mellon University Heinz College. Andy is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and Fujianese dialect.