Cal Poly Pomona Cyber Collaborative


Students take advantage of every opportunity available at Cal Poly Pomona to enhance their skills and knowledge to guarantee them job placement immediately after graduation. Scholarships provide students the ability to explore as many of those options as possible and alleviates financial burdens. They will have more free time to take on relevant internship and work opportunities and allow them to fully focus on their academics. Your partnerships and contributions will support students in achieving their educational and career goals.

Scholarship for Service

Samantha Wu was interested in cybersecurity and hacking, and the SFS program helped her discover a field she wanted to pursue for her career and connected her with peers and companies to further develop her skills. She currently works in a nonprofit that does research in cybersecurity and science. Her department involves cell phones and radios, reverse engineering and cell unit networks. Wu was a key member in her work team due to an application development class she completed at Cal Poly Pomona. She developed a mobile phone application that was integral for testing when no one previously on her team knew how to build an application.

“Through Scholarship for Service, I attended workshops that gave me more general knowledge and it put me in touch with the company that I work for. The stipend and tuition coverage helped me buy cybersecurity related books, training programs and conferences that I wouldn’t have been able to go to.” - Wu

Crisarael Lucero works with human artificial intelligence systems to help the cybersecurity team do their work more efficiently, create awareness of network security and make better decisions for increased security. He would have never worked in this field if it weren’t for the opportunities the Scholarship for Service program gave him at Cal Poly Pomona. He learned more about cybersecurity and joined groups that focused on artificial intelligence and machine learning, which were his main interests.

“At Cal Poly Pomona, I really enjoyed that it was more project- and lab-based. Since I do research now, a lot of people coming into our lab don’t have a lot of the skills that we were taught that you can only learn through application. The clubs were heavily focused on getting people to pick up skills that were impressive on their resumes, which included workshops, hackathons and people being encouraged to be really active in the community.”

Avanade Scholars

Nandita Chauhan was part of the first cohort of Avanade Scholars who graduated from Cal Poly Pomona, but she had difficulty finding work due to visa limitations. She explained her situation to Heba Ramzy, Avanade global citizenship senior director, who helped to create an opportunity for Avanade to offer opportunities to their scholars, no matter their situation. A week after that conversation, Chauhan was scheduled for an interview and currently works in the company’s software engineering department.

“Where I am today is because of Cal Poly Pomona and Avanade together, especially in terms of the opportunities given by faculty and the amount I learned from my professors,” Chauhan said. “There’s a strong sense of community that we all have, and everyone is willing to help each other.”

Mei-Ying Croddy’s interest in coding was sparked by her first gaming console, a PlayStation 2, introduced to her by her mom who was a video game concept artist. Croddy found free, online programming websites to learn how to create similar, interactive gameplay.

When she arrived at Cal Poly Pomona as a computer science student, she looked for opportunities that could help her pay for her education and get a head start on her career. She found the answer through the Avanade STEM Scholarship program.

“I really needed to find a way to step into my career and my mentor helped with my resume,” Croddy said. “I feel like I’m in a really good spot for other opportunities, even tangential to game development.”

Through her mentor in Avanade, a leading digital innovator on the Microsoft platform, Croddy earned a web development internship at Activision, a major video game publisher.

Croddy was one of seven Cal Poly Pomona Avanade STEM Scholars selected during the 2018-19 school year, each earning scholarships of up to $15,000 with opportunities to attend career workshops and networking events.

“I was struggling paying for college, and the scholarship took off a lot of pressure at school. When you have to worry about your finances it makes school much more difficult,” Croddy said. “It was the first time my family and I didn’t have to take out any loans, and I’m very proud of that. Now, I have more time – next year I don’t have to find a side job, and I can go to networking events and conferences.”

Isabel DeLaPaz felt the pressure to excel academically and make her parents proud, especially since she is one of the first in her family to attend college. Because her parents work in the farm and service industries, they are not familiar with the U.S. education system.

Since being named an Avanade Scholar, DeLaPaz balances her academic life with being a part of a community, inspiring her to become a braver person and earning an internship at Avanade.

“I’m really grateful for the FUEL conference because I met so many amazing people throughout the entire week – it’s helping me push myself out there and making me into a more open person,” said DeLaPaz, a solutions development analyst intern. “I know I can do fine in my academics, but I know that it’s not enough to work in the industry because you need to work on so many skills outside of that.”