Student Assistant Success Stories

The CCI has provided once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for countless students through internships, class projects, and events. Below are some of our favorite student success stories.


Ciera Dixon


Degree: Liberal Arts Engineering Studies - Industrial Engineering & Interactive Communications

Current Job: Coordinator at the Creative Studios with Disney Advertising Sales


Did you ever think about the impact of cybersecurity before working at the CCI?

I only thought about the impact of cybersecurity a little bit before working at CCI. I covered my laptop camera with tape and was careful about what I put online, but nothing beyond that. CCI opened my eyes to a lot of the issues facing us in our technology-centered world.


What was your experience like working at the CCI?

My time at CCI was fantastic. It was an amazing opportunity to learn and grow. I had so much freedom to be creative and technical. The team is made up of wonderful and talented ;people.


What was the most valuable thing you learned?

The most valuable thing I learned while at CCI was how much I love sharing my passion with other people. I had the opportunity to teach the next round of LAES student how to build an escape room, and I hopefully inspired high school kids during the DFC. So much work went into the DFC, it was so wonderful to see the kids having a blast physically finding evidence and running from location to location.


How do you think your experience at the CCI prepared you for where you are today?

My experience at CCI prepared me for where I am today by reminding me how much I love to be creative. It also really helped me refine my pitching skills, which is really valuable in my work today. 



Zeeshan Khan


Degree: Computer Science

Current Job: Cloud Computing at the California Cybersecurity Institute


Did you ever think about the impact of cybersecurity before working at the CCI?

Prior to working at the CCI, I was not aware of the impact of cybersecurity on everyday life. My knowledge was limited to practicing safe information sharing practices online; however, after learning from the team here, I now understand the extent to which cybersecurity impacts everyday life. Since the use of phones and laptops is ingrained in modern culture, I believe that the CCI’s goals of promoting a safer cyberspace and more knowledgeable user base is vital for our global community.


What is your experience like working at the CCI?

My experience working at the CCI has positively surpassed my previous positions in that I have been able to grow closely with our team while learning and experiencing the functions of a startup environment, software development and architecture, and challenges for growth and outreach. The fast-paced, welcoming environment has strengthened my professional, academic, and interpersonal abilities.


What is the most valuable thing you have learned?

My most valuable learning experience with the team at the CCI has been understanding the depths of security within technology. From identifying possible network and product vulnerabilities to creating mitigation solutions, the CCI and it’s cooperative network of organizations have offered me countless resources and tools to continue to develop my skills as a software engineer and as a professional. I am grateful to the California Cybersecurity Institute for providing an intensive, informative experience that I now carry onto my internship with Bugcrowd.


How do you think your experience at the CCI prepared you for where you are today?

My exposure to different facets of business and engineering has helped me identify my passions for a future career. Through thorough experiences in cloud computing, software development, penetration and vulnerability testing at the CCI, has allowed me to experience industry standard software engineering, which has been extremely valuable to my growth as a computer scientist. Further, the experiences in our startup environment has improved my understanding and knowledge to be replicated in future fast-paced, cooperative work environments.



Cassidy E.


Degree: Computer Science

Current Job: NDA


“My internship at the CCI was essential to continuing my Computer Engineering education and work experience in the rapidly expanding fields of Digital Forensics and Cybersecurity. Also, since I am passionate about protecting and helping others, the opportunity to work on projects at the CCI to increase awareness and improve forensics analysis in cyber cases related to healthcare fraud, human trafficking, and crimes against children was extremely important to me.


For more than a year, I gained marketable experience within my field, worked alongside supportive staff, collaborated with students from the colleges of engineering, architecture, and liberal arts, and felt I made a lasting difference in the lives of youth and forensics education through the California Cyber Innovation Challenge (CCIC). I would highly recommend getting involved with the CCI as they have a myriad of unique opportunities available that I found invaluable to my personal and career goals.”


Marco Zunigo


Degree: Liberal Arts Engineering Studies - Human Factors Engineering

Current Job: NDA


Did you ever think about the impact of cybersecurity before working at the CCI?

Not with any real intention. It always felt like something that I couldn't enhance much in my own life, and in general felt like a subject very removed from myself.


What is your experience like working at the CCI?

It has been so amazing. It is the perfect place to work particularly for college students or recent grads. While there is an expectation to perform, I am never afraid to ask for help. I am constantly learning more about not just cyber security, but also the work force in general, and CCI's learning environment really fosters that.


What is the most valuable thing you have learned?

In regards to my actual job, learning AWS and understanding all the moving parts that come together to create web based applications. In general, how to be comfortable and carry myself in front of important business persons and representatives.

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