WINNER - Cybersecurity Student of the Year: Sophia McCall, Bournemouth
“What a fantastic entry ... with so many achievements already under her belt” said one judge as another remarked how impressed they were in her success to date,” while yet another commented, “a future leader in the making.”
Currently studying a BSc Cyber Security Management degree at Bournemouth University, 21 year old Sophia McCall says she lives, breathes and sleeps security, honing her technical skills “outside of lecture hours” - prior to graduation she is a Certified Security Testing Associate (CSTA) under the 7safe ethical hacking certification tree. Her long-term aim is a CISO/Board-level role. She demonstrated technical and leadership skills as UK Team Captain in the European Cyber Security Challenge last year and Cyber 9/12 UK Cyber Policy competition semi-finalist.
McCall has already won numerous national ethical hacking competitions including “Best Newcomer to Cyber Security” 2017 by Cyber Security Challenge UK 2017; “Best New Security Blog” 2018 by European Cyber Security Blogger Awards; Technology Category Finalist by the Nova Awards (Student Women in STEM); Highly Acclaimed “Rising Star” Award 2019 by Security Serious. She was part of the National Cyber Security Centre’s Inspirational Female Speaker programme and she has spoken at roadshows and schools around the country to help younger generations understand the potentials of a security career. And of course her university and work placement references were excellent.
Our highly commended award had a “Very creative entry!” with one judge commenting how she, “especially liked the video which made judging her entry more fun,” while another noted the entrant was “ really going above and beyond to increase her skills and knowledge.”
Emma Heffernan is studying a BSc in Computing in digital forensics and cyber security at TU Dublin where she is a student ambassador for the university. She founded the Irish Humans of Cyber Network, an organisation for students & industry professionals or those looking to change their career. Heffernan is a mentor to children in the local CoderDojo, participating in the STEM Aspire Mentoring programme with Dell EMC inspiring female students how STEM subjects open opportunities in the tech sector, and a member of OWASP. She is a regular on the Capture the Flag events and has represented Ireland at international competitions including the European Cyber Security Challenge, and also speaks at conferences including addressing the IRISSCERT Cyber Crime Conference attended by nearly 400 people.