B.S., Information Systems
Hometown: Silver Spring, Maryland
Plans: Cyber Software Engineer, Northrop Grumman Corporation
As a woman minority in technology, I got to immerse myself in a community full of advocates who helped me see the potential I didn’t always see in myself. I learned that as long as a student is willing to work hard and has that drive to take their passion to unimaginable heights, the opportunities will be endless at UMBC.
Priyanka Ranade refers to joining the Cyber Scholars Program, through the Center for Women in Technology (CWIT), as the “greatest turning point in my undergraduate career.” The support and guidance Ranade received as a Cyber Scholar helped her excel in the classroom and as a researcher, and encouraged her growing fascination with cybersecurity issues.
“UMBC has continuously given to me as long as I worked hard,” Ranade said, who recently received the Student Leadership Award for Information Systems. “‘Working hard’ is built into the faculty and student body and it spreads to everyone who steps foot onto this campus. I know that I will always carry the UMBC grit with me with any opportunity I take in the future.”
As a student in UMBC’s accelerated B.S./M.S. program in information systems, Ranade conducted research alongside Anupam Joshi, chair and professor of computer science and electrical engineering. In Joshi’s lab, she studied how advanced computing techniques can be used to more accurately identify cyber threats. She is particularly interested in an aspect of cybersecurity called multilingual representation, which utilizes natural language processing to understand cyber threats in a range of natural languages. She recently presented on this research at URCAD 2018.
Beyond her UMBC research, Ranade worked as a cyber strategy intern at Northrop Grumman in 2017, where she received mentorship from several UMBC alumni. This led to a full-time job offer, which she will begin after graduation.
Looking back at her time at UMBC, Ranade reflects that the UMBC community matched high expectations with strong support, and that combination was invaluable to her. “From an academic standpoint, my passion for cybersecurity grew stronger through all of the interactions I have made with faculty and the technical student body,” she says. “Working to reach my goals became second nature to me when I realized I had help everywhere I looked.”
Portrait by Marlayna Demond ’11 for UMBC.