Since graduating from Florida Tech in 2012, Eden Priela’s Master of Science in Information Technology has paid off in more ways than one. Not only did her career in cybersecurity take off less than six months after graduation, but she’s doing what she loves:
“I can say that I am now where I want to be in my professional career as a cybersecurity consultant for one of the Big 4. I’ve never dreamed of doing what I love and getting paid way more than I could have imagined. I couldn’t have done it without you, Florida Tech. I am forever grateful.”
We spoke with Priela about her background and academic journey.
Tell us about your background.
My career path started in law enforcement as a corrections officer for the local sheriff’s department. I eventually started in information technology by designing the county public website as a volunteer. I moved on to data security, audit and finally cybersecurity risk management, where I am currently working for Ernst & Young as a Senior Consultant III.
When I was 16, I moved with my family to the U.S. from a small town in the Philippines. When we arrived here many things were new to us. Some things are really funny now when I think back, such as my mom asking for spaghetti at the McDonalds drive-thru, and being amazed as to how some restaurants here can offer “all-you-can-eat” for a small price, as back home, food is somewhat difficult to afford for the average person.
What were the most important factors in your decision to choose Florida Tech?
I chose Florida Tech because they have a good reputation and offered their classes online. Online classes were important to me because I worked full-time. Another factor I considered was that they used to be an engineering college, which attracted me to it.
How will your Florida Tech degree make a difference in your career?
My Florida Tech degree gave me the knowledge and skills to understand complex situations and how to break those situations down into manageable pieces. It also taught me that I had the ability to learn anything given time and effort. Finally, it taught me that hard work and dedication does pay off.
“I’ve gone through a lot prior to getting this degree and things just started getting much better after. I honestly think it’s the best decision I’ve made.”
Do you have any future plans with your degree?
I plan to obtain a couple of certifications, with the first being the IAPP CIPP. This is a privacy certification that will provide me with additional knowledge to complement my privacy experience.
What surprised you most about taking an online program?
I was surprised by the level of effort for online classes. I did not expect them to be so challenging. Additionally, I initially thought that online classes would not have as much guidance from professors. My experience with Florida Tech is exactly the opposite. They provided me with all the resources I needed in order to succeed.
What was your favorite class and why?
My favorite class was Organizational Behavior. I found this class to be very interesting, as some aspects of it dealt with how human behavior affects the dynamics of teams within an organization. I find this class to be very helpful especially now that I work in teams and at times have to form teams and lead others.
What was your most valuable takeaway from the program?
My most valuable takeaway was gathering all my work and being able to clearly present it. This program also trained me to be resourceful and have the ability to find solutions to complex problems.
What advice would you give other students who are considering enrolling in the program?
Expect a lot of effort if you want to do well. Use the resources that Florida Tech offers.
Who has been your support system?
My family helped me to keep going and follow through until the end. They were, and still are, supportive in anything I do.
What was the most challenging part of your student journey?
The most challenging part for me was meeting deadlines for classwork while working twelve-hour night shifts for the sheriff’s office as a corrections officer. At times, I went 24 hours with no sleep after long 12-hour night shifts in order to finish school papers.
Who or what inspires you to succeed?
My daughter Jasmine inspires me to succeed. I wanted a better life for her and I knew obtaining my degree would do just that. My parents Manny and Fenie also inspire me to do well. They’ve always been there for me. My younger sister Farina inspires me to be a better role model to her. My brothers Jason and Mervyn have served in the military and I look up to them for their service. My boyfriend Joe is my coach and motivator and he also inspires me to succeed. We work in similar fields, and we challenge each other and keep each other motivated.
What is one fun fact about you?
I have two!
- I love to play FPS (First Person Shooter) computer games. My gamer name is “Pickles” because my boyfriend said I eat a lot of pickles.
- When I was 16 and in the Philippines, I was entered into the Miss Philippines beauty pageant. I say “entered in” because I didn’t want to be in it at first. To my surprise, I won, but we never received the prize money because the corrupt mayor at the time stole it!
Are you a graduate of Florida Tech’s 100% online degree programs? We would love to share your success story in our Student Spotlight series. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional details.