2024 Participants


Starr Abdelhadi

My journey began with advocating for sexual assault victims before pursuing a master’s in cybersecurity, specializing in Computer Forensics with a focus on cybersex trafficking. During my internship at Homeland Security Investigations, I helped with cybercrime cases involving child exploitation and trafficking. After that, I worked for four years as a Cyber Security Analyst, improving how we handle incidents and vulnerabilities. Now, I’m a Cyber Security Researcher, focusing on threat hunting and digital forensics in Industrial Control Systems and IoT. I also mentor students from underrepresented backgrounds. Apart from cybersecurity, I’m passionate about fitness and health. I enjoy exploring national parks with my boyfriend Marcus and spending time with our two dogs.

Sahana Aswathanarayan

Originally from India, I migrated to the US in the year 2017 for my Masters in Electrical Engineering at Syracuse University. After graduation, I worked at Hughes as a Customer Network Engineer for 3 years (2019-2022). I have been working as a Network Engineer at NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) for the last 1.5 years. My work at NREL revolves primarily around campus and data-center networking, including installing, configuring, operating, and maintaining network equipment from different vendors. Throughout my time here, I have been able to sharpen most of these skills thanks to my involvement in different ongoing projects aimed at upgrading NREL’s network infrastructure. From replacing old access layer switches with newer Cisco switches to helping troubleshoot various routing issues throughout the vast NREL campus, all of this has helped me understand more about the intricacies of how a data center and a campus operate. I currently reside in Golden, CO. I enjoy reading books in my free time, and being so close to the mountains, I have also picked up hiking as a hobby.

Sunshine Balingit

Sunshine graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Computer Science before becoming a Security System Administrator at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Her 3 years at LLNL so far has been filled with developing the logging infrastructure and helping maintain authentication services. Along with her technical role, Sunshine is also passionate about inclusivity – taking part in the leadership team of LLNL Pride – and mentoring the future workforce – working with students and folks seeking career changes. Any time she has left during her waking hours is spent with her two little children, exploring new activities, hobbies, and food.

Rebecca Kingery

For nearly two years Becca Kingery has been the Education IT Manager for the Nebraska Information Technology Commission (NITC) as a part of the Nebraska State Office of the CIO.  It’s this position that allows her to play an integral role in aspects of the state education technology field, largest among them overseeing the administrative management of Network Nebraska.  Network Nebraska is the R&E network for the state representing most public K-12 schools, higher education entities, and several public libraries.Ms. Kingery’s responsibilities include the facilitation of large-scale bid processes for ethernet backbone transport and commodity internet for member entities and the consortium at large, overseeing the state E-Rate process for Network Nebraska, and cultivating consortium membership as well as program growth.  As one of the passionate forces driving Network Nebraska, she helps to ensure that students in Nebraska have access to a reliable, scalable network connection.A native of Nebraska, Becca graduated from the University of Nebraska Omaha with a Bachelor of Arts focusing on cybersecurity and mathematics. She is raising her two teenage daughters in the same corner of southeast Nebraska where she grew up, helping them pursue their own goals and chase their own dreams.  When not working she’s often found cheering them on from the sideline of a soccer pitch or during the marching band halftime shows.

Drew Lasson

Drew is a Cyber Security Event Analyst at the University of Utah. With four years of experience, she specializes in monitoring activity and preventing intrusions on the network.Before transitioning into IT and Security, Drew worked as an Emergency Dispatcher at the University Hospital. Inspired to switch careers after attending Defcon, she returned to college and has since found fulfillment in her work every day.

Outside of the office, Drew enjoys spending time with friends playing pool or exploring the outdoors. Whether paddle boarding on a lake or hiking a new trail in the mountains, she embraces adventure whenever she can.

Danielle Southerland

Danielle provides networking support for on-site technicians , residents and employees of the University of Pennsylvania. Danielle has worked 20 years in IT, gaining knowledge of Penn’s networking topology and various flavors of networking hardware, routers, switches, wireless APs, backup devices, troubleshooting tools and software. Danielle has 2 children a cat and enjoys fishing