Alumni Identity Talks

Join IST alumni as they share their diverse experiences and perspectives gained through their educational and professional journeys. Learn from the challenges and opportunities faced by these individuals from underrepresented backgrounds as they navigated the college experience and work to advance their careers and grow their professional networks. This event aims to inspire an open dialogue for students and alumni, and provide unique viewpoints to help all attendees be better prepared to thrive in diverse professional and personal communities.

Past Talks

Co-sponsored by Penn State World Campus. To view a recording of this event, click the button below:

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Daniel Battisto ’18
Information Security Engineer, Workday Inc.

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1st Lt. Juliana Wright Coleman ’18
C-130J pilot, United States Air Force

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Michael Payne '20
Data Leakage Prevention – US Team Leader, UBS

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Lance Corporal Nhien Truong (USMC Reservist) ’21
IT Security Analyst, Underwriters Labs

About the Panelists

Daniel Battisto, originally from the Philadelphia area, began his career as a physical security specialist in the United States Air Force where he had the opportunity to serve in several roles that provided him the opportunity to support Air Force One missions and work at the White House. After leaving the military in 2014, Daniel has supported the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense in a variety of information security toles. Daniel lives in the Washington, D.C. area is now employed as an information security engineer for Workday Inc., and is finishing his M.Eng of Cybersecurity Policy and Compliance through George Washington University.

1st Lt. Juliana Coleman is currently serving as a C-130J pilot in the United States Air Force. Juliana graduated from Penn State with a degree in Security and Risk Analysis and a minor in Military Studies in 2018. After graduation, she was commissioned into the Air Force as a 2nd Lieutenant and attended Pilot Training in Columbus, Mississippi. She and her husband, who is also a Penn State alumnus and C-130J pilot, are stationed out of Dyess AFB in Abilene, Texas.

Michael Payne is currently the Data Leakage Prevention Team Leader – United States at UBS -  Union Bank of Switzerland.  He served 26+ years in the United States Marine Corps, and attained the rank of Sergeant Major.  While an active duty service member, he completed his degree in Security and Risk Analysis – Information and Cybersecurity through Penn State World Campus.  While at Penn State, he was selected as one of two RSA Security Scholars to represent the Pennsylvania State University at RSA Conference – San Francisco.

Lance Corporal Nhien Truong enlisted in February 2019. After completing the training and check in to his Reserve Unit, the pandemic happened. As a result, he couldn’t find a job and instead focused on earning a college degree in Information Sciences and Technology through Penn State World Campus. At first, finding a job and internship was hard, sometimes he got stuck not getting any call backs, but the Office of Career Solutions in the College of IST was very dedicated and provided helpful resources. Lance Corporal Truong started getting more communication from recruiters after having some resume reviewing sessions. After taking ENGL 202D – Business Writing, he was able to get an offer from Tesla for a position based on his military experience. A few weeks before graduating, Lance Corporal Truong found a recruiter’s posting from Underwriters Labs on LinkedIn, reached out and applied. He is now entry-level with the company, working for their Cryptography compliance team.

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Cassidy DiPaola '21
Digital Assurance & Transparency Associate, PwC

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Joel Gill Jr. '09
Technology Manager and Management Consultant, Grant Thornton LLP

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Michelle Ngo '12
Product Marketing Strategy Lead, JPMorgan Chase

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Steve Pipino '03
Cloud Cyber Security Expert, Salesforce

About the Panelists

Cassidy DiPaola graduated in May 2021 from Penn State with a Bachelor of Science in Security and Risk Analysis and a Master of International Affairs in International Cyber Security. During her four years at Penn State, she completed internships in the following sectors: machinery, information technology and services, accounting/consulting, defense and space, research, academia, and online media. In August 2021, she began her full-time career with PwC as a Digital Assurance and Transparency Associate.

Joel Gill Jr. is a Technology Manager and Management Consultant at Grant Thornton LLP with more than 12 years of experience. He serves as one of the leaders in the Public Sector practice specializing in agile transformation and enablement and product management. His experience has spanned all stages of the software development lifecycle which includes mobile and web application testing and reporting, business and systems analysis. He received his bachelor’s degree from the College of IST in 2009.

Michelle Ngo is currently a Product Marketing Strategy Lead at JPMorgan Chase. She graduated from Penn State with her Bachelor of Science in Information Sciences and Technology and a minor in Supply Chain. She worked for Deloitte Consulting LLC shortly after graduation, where she was staffed on multiple technology projects assisting clients from various industries. Michelle also holds a Master’s of Business Administration degree from Temple University, with a concentration in Innovation Management.

Stephen Pipino is a Principal Security Specialist with Salesforce, where he supports Public Sector organizations as a pre-sales engineer with their secure adoption of Salesforce’s PaaS and SaaS offerings. He works closely with DoD agencies and U.S. Government Contractors to provide expertise addressing security and compliance requirements associated with Government programs, such as FedRAMP and CMMC. Prior to joining Salesforce, Stephen built his career with small startup vendors and large consulting firms. He has earned recognition as a Certified Salesforce Administrator, a Certified Enterprise Architect (CEA), a Certified Information Security Systems Professional (CISSP) and a Registered DoD Risk Management Framework Practitioner (RDRP). In addition to his undergraduate degree from Penn State’s College of IST, he holds a Master of Science in Computer Science from the George Washington University.

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Aubrey McElrath '21 (they/she)
Security & Risk Analysis student, Moderator & Panelist

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Scott Robertson PhD ’13
Policy Advisor, US Federal Government

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Alexander Ross '03
Senior Clinical Systems Analyst, Allegheny Health Network

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Andrew Weinert '09
Staff Research Associate, MIT Lincoln Laboratory

About the Panelists

Aubrey McElrath is a current senior at Penn State studying Security and Risk Analysis, German, and History. Aubrey serves as a Student Diplomat in the College of IST. During her sophomore year of college, Aubrey learned that they live with C-PTSD and has been navigating that ever since. In her free time, they love to rock-climb, read, and write poetry, in addition to hanging out with her pet rats.

Dr. Scott Michael Robertson is a policy strategist, social scientist, and consultant. He currently works as a senior policy advisor in an agency in the federal Executive Branch. He advances national policies and practices for inclusive apprenticeships, neurodiversity at work, and accessible work technology. He also holds an affiliate faculty appointment at Syracuse University as a Research Professor in the Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics. Dr. Robertson previously served as a Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Fellow for U.S. Senator Tom Harkin in the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP). Previously, he served as the Founding Vice President of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Robertson earned his Ph.D. from the College of IST in 2013. His honors include a 2020 Service to the Citizen Award from Dorris Consulting International and the 2011 Jay S. Drotman Award for emerging leadership from the American Public Health Association. He is an inductee of the national Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame and a nationally recognized public speaker.

Alexander Ross has lived his entire life with a bilateral severe hearing loss and a mild case of Cerebral Palsy (CP). He is a member of the first graduating class of the then-School of Information Sciences and Technology in 2003 and obtained his master’s degree in Health Information Systems from the University of Pittsburgh in 2010. He currently works at Allegheny Health Network in Pittsburgh, PA. In his spare time, Alexander likes to watch his kids play soccer, watch auto racing – particularly Formula One – and drive his classic cars.  Additionally, he races his 1970 Datsun 240Z in the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix.

Andrew Weinert is a member of the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Systems Group in the Homeland Protection and Air Traffic Control Division at MIT Lincoln Laboratory. In recent years, he has worked with public safety and academia—including Penn State—on programs to integrate drones into the National Airspace System and enable communication in disconnected and latent environments. Andrew is considered one of the technical leaders in support of the Federal Unmanned Aircraft Systems Executive Committee and the federal government’s drone efforts. Since 2011, he has served as technical lead on an MIT and Penn State collaboration to develop smart information communication systems for first responders. This collaboration has tested equipment at Beaver Stadium and Heinz Field during football games. As part of these efforts, Andrew is a significant contributor to the research and development roadmap for the upcoming nationwide FirstNet Public Safety LTE network. Andrew earned his bachelor’s degree in Security and Risk Analysis in 2009.

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John Esteves ’18
IT Project Manager, Universal Parks

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Elizabeth King ’79 (Liberal Arts)
Retired Vice President of Human Resources Solutions and Services, Starbucks Corporation

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Justin Roth ’15
Director, Technology Services

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Lauren Zieziula ’17
Project Manager, Red Ventures

About the Panelists

John Esteves is a Project Management Professional working as an IT Project Manager at Universal Parks and Resorts for just over 3 years now. He has the opportunity to work on a variety of software and infrastructure projects. He is excited to talk about the diversity he has experienced at Universal and how that has encouraged him to get involved locally to work with the Clinton County LGBTQ Group in Clinton County, Pennsylvania.

Elizabeth M. King is a retired vice president of Human Resources Solutions and Services for Starbucks Corporation. During her tenure, the company grew from 1,100 to over 26,000 coffee shops with locations in four countries to 75. This significant growth provided exciting challenges and opportunities for Elizabeth during her 20 years at Starbucks.

Today she is the managing partner of Elizabeth M. King Consulting, LLC, a niche consulting company that she founded after retiring from Starbucks. Also, Elizabeth serves as a Penn State Adjunct Professor in the School of Hospitality Management and serves on the Advisory Board in the School of IST.

She splits time between her homes in Bellevue, WA and Boalsburg, PA.

Justin Roth is a technology and management consultant with technical leadership and delivery experience in software development/integration and information assurance across commercial markets and the Federal Government. He is passionate about people development & process improvement and currently serves as Director of Technology Services at Coalfire Systems, an accredited Third-Party Assessment Organization (3PAO) supporting the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP). Justin holds a Bachelor’s degree in Information Sciences and Technology from Penn State along with various industry certifications including CISSP, CISM, CISA, CRISC, CAP, CDPSE, and CCSK.

Lauren Zieziula graduated from Penn State in 2017 with a degree in Cyber Security. She began her career at GE as a member of their Digital Technology Leadership Program. She found her passion for Agile software development and took on role as Scrum Master for the next 3 years. This year, Lauren joined Red Ventures, a digital marketing and media company, as a Technical Project Manager. Lauren recently bought her first home in Erie, Pennsylvania with her fiancé Jamie, PSU IST grad Class of 2016 and their dog Sunnie.

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Noel Claudio ’14
Strategy and Operations Analyst, Twitter

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Diana Long ’04
Director and Program Manager, General Atlantic

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Jacqueline (Jackie) Sanchez ’19
Technology Risk Consultant

About the Panelists

Noel Claudio is a Strategy and Operations Analyst for Platform Engineering at Twitter. Before joining the flock, Noel spent 6.5 years in consulting working for Deloitte and Slalom. He has consulted clients across various industries in technology project & program management. He is originally from Puerto Rico & Dominican Republic and is a first-generation college graduate. Outside of work, Noel enjoys basketball, football, Marvel TV shows, and traveling. He is also a huge advocate for the LatinX in Tech community.

Diana Long is from Brooklyn, NY and found her way to Penn State University. She graduated with her B.S. in 2004. While at Penn State she was active on the Executive Board of Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority and the National Hispanic Business Association. She earned her Master of Science at Penn State Great Valley while working full-time at Vanguard. Diana is currently a Director, Program Manager at General Atlantic in NYC overseeing the firm’s IT Project Portfolio. She is married with two children living in NY. Fun facts: she has a sister who is also an IT Alum, a younger sister, and a nephew currently attending Penn State; she also started her own beauty brand in 2012 called DIOSA (Nail and lip products all made in the USA)!

Jackie Sanchez is currently located in NYC working as a Senior 1 Technology Risk Consultant at a Big 4 firm for almost two years. Jackie assists clients by assessing the controls they have in place to support their IT environments to confirm the controls are working effectively. With her firm, she volunteers as a Penn State class representative to assist a team of students with a case study throughout the entire semester. Additionally, she volunteers to mentor and prepare a high school junior through their senior year for the college process. Outside of work, Jackie spends time with her rescue pup, Kefla.

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Maria Cody '14
CSIRT Manager, Salesforce

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Pedro Huerta '08
Digital Expert, McKinsey & Co.

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Krista Krebs '15
Product Strategist & Designer, UPMC Enterprises

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Ankur Sheth '04
Senior Managing Director, Ankura Consulting

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Adam Stavely '14
Engineer in Residence

About the Panelists

Maria Cody is the Government Cloud CSIRT Manager at Salesforce and is based in Northern Virginia. She has worked in Incident Response, Tech Audit, Forensic Investigations, and Threat Intelligence for Johnson & Johnson, Comcast and Salesforce. Maria is passionate about Latinx in Tech, Women in Tech and work life balance.

Pedro Huerta is a Digital Expert with McKinsey & Company based in Lima, Peru, he supports organizations in various industries through digital transformations, helping organizations adopt new agile ways of working, deliver digital products and transform organizational structures, culture and processes. Prior to McKinsey, Pedro worked for Verizon where he led the agile transformation of the Cloud & Data Center organization as part of Verizon Enterprise Services. Prior to that he had multiple roles with General Electric leading and managing technology projects. Pedro was born and raised in Peru, moved to the US in 2003 and joined Penn State in 2004 where he majored in Information Science & Technology with a Minor in Engineering Leadership.  While at Penn State he was highly involved in IST including the IST interest house, Pro Expo, Student Government and with Latino organizations on campus, Pedro also developed an interest in global cultures including learning Portuguese and Chinese, studying abroad in Shanghai and participating in a program collaborating with Hungary students to help cooperatives in Morocco.

Krista Krebs is a product strategist and designer with seven years of leadership experience across product, design, and engineering. She has led and influenced multimillion-dollar products in various industries, including eCommerce and healthcare. With proficiency in multiple product disciplines, she excels at managing the entire product lifecycle—from product roadmapping to delivery. She’s Founder of That’s Valid, an apparel brand on a mission to fight against mental health stigma, and is a company of one at Krista Krebs Co, her digital product consulting business. Her sweet spot is advising companies on mobile app product strategies and designs that deliver quantifiable results.

Ankur Sheth is a senior technology and cybersecurity professional based in New York working across a variety of competencies and industries for almost 20 years serving his clients in successfully mitigating potential cyber threats. Ankur possesses an extensive knowledge of cybersecurity risk controls, processes, and technologies, and continues to assist clients with projects ranging from strategy to implementation. He has worked with clients across multiple industries ranging from financial services to consumer products to help them strategize, analyze, plan, architect, design, implement, and support cybersecurity related controls and systems. Ankur utilizes his extensive education and experience along with his business and security knowledge to deploy leading practices across all security aspects within enterprises. Additionally, Ankur has worked with his multi-national clients at a global level across North and South America, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific. Ankur holds his MBA, CISSP, and CISM certifications in addition to his BS from PSU.

Adam Stavely graduated from the College of IST in 2014 with Bachelors of Science in Information Sciences and Technology and minor in Security and Risk Analysis. He is completing a Master’s degree in Information Systems Engineering from Johns Hopkins University. Mr. Stavely has worked for the Federal Government since graduating where he currently serves as the Engineer in Residence at one of the government’s innovation hubs. In his spare time he enjoys rock climbing, hiking, and nights in with his boyfriend.

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Prerana Dalal '08
Senior Product Manager, Huge

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Caitlin Doyle Weiss '12
Director of Core Technology GRC, GlaxoSmithKline

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Brianna Malcolmson '11
Principal Security Engineer, Atlassian

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Tammara (Tammy) Ross '11
Project Delivery Manager, Deloitte Consulting, LLP

About the Panelists

Prerana Dalal is a Senior Product Manager at Huge, a user-centric digital agency where she helps companies transform into trusted parts of people’s lives by creating digital products, services, and brands that people love. She previously worked at Bloomberg and Deloitte. Prerana lives and works in Washington, D.C. She is a self-proclaimed foodie, enjoys watching Bravo shows, and in her nonexistent free time, she likes to write, dreaming of one day publishing a book of short stories.

Caitlin Doyle Weiss graduated from the College of IST in 2012. During her time at IST, Caitlin interned with the CIA and was Vice President of Women in IST, President of Gamma Tau Phi, and a founding member of IST Diplomats. After Penn State, she joined Deloitte Consulting as a Business Technology Consultant. After 5 years with Deloitte, she joined Slalom consulting to work locally in Philadelphia. In 2018, Caitlin joined GSK as a Risk and Compliance Manager and was promoted to Director of Core Technology Risk and Compliance earlier this year. Currently, Caitlin oversees the secure and compliance implementation of all of GSK’s globally used technology.

Brianna Malcolmson is an information security professional and advisor with over ten years of experience transforming the security posture of cloud-based companies. Most recently, she founded the Red Team at Atlassian where she helped drive foundational change to secure its over 100,000 customers. She is a graduate of Penn State University’s Security and Risk Analysis program where she specialized in Information and Cyber Security.

Tammy Ross from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, was an IST major and former President of Women in IST. She helped bring the TEDxPSU conference to campus and worked to increase the presence of women and underrepresented minorities within the College of IST. Tammy now lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, and works for Deloitte Consulting. Her current project is with a member of the Department of Justice. There, she serves as a system administrator for a BI Reporting Platform which helps them make data-driven decisions daily. In her free time, she enjoys coaching girls’ basketball at the AAU and high school levels.

Cierra Freeman ’12
Project Manager, Confluence

Corey J. Lee ’12
Enterprise Security Executive for U.S. Education, Microsoft Corporation

Ka’Lee Strawbridge '18
Threat & Vulnerability Management Analyst, Lowe's Companies, Inc.

About the Panelists

Cierra Freeman has seven years of experience managing projects across the financial and technology sectors. As a graduate of the IST and Community, Environment, and Development programs, she leveraged her academic experience to grow as a forensic technology consultant at PwC and later transitioned to project management to further her deep knowledge within software development. Today, Cierra works as a Project Manager at Confluence, a fund administration software company, and volunteers with Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation, a local community development non-profit.

Corey Lee was born and raised in Hopewell, Virginia. He started his Penn State journey as a Bunton-Waller Fellow in the fall of 2007. After his first semester, he decided to change his major from Criminology to Security and Risk Analysis and join the College of IST. During his time at Penn State, Corey studied abroad in both Argentina and China while also serving as a member of the SRA club. He became a Schreyer Gateway Scholar and wrote an honors thesis titled “Cybercrime: Analysis of Offending Patterns and Offender Characteristics with Special Emphasis on Women." Corey graduated with a B.S in SRA and a minor in International Studies in 2012. Corey now works at Microsoft Corporation as the Enterprise Security Executive for U.S. Education.

Ka’Lee Strawbridge-Moten was born and raised in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and now lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, serving as a Threat and Vulnerability Management Analyst at Lowe's Companies, Inc. His work focuses primarily on vulnerability remediation for internal/external PCI regulatory compliance, on-premises infrastructure threat reduction, and vulnerability metrics and reporting. Ka’Lee has worked on projects that include ensuring consumer privacy as well as reducing risks of internal threats by means of streamlining Identity and Access Management Processes. While at Penn State, Ka'Lee was a member of W.O.R.D.S, TheLion 90.7 FM, and the Residential Computing Team.