2020 Business/CIS: Brandon Nguyen
Brandon is a cyber defense major and was selected as the Presidential Scholar of Distinction for the Business/CIS Division at Cypress College. Growing up in Orange County, he found a love for computers at an early age and often enjoyed “fiddling” with them. Brandon’s love for technology continued to grow through online resources and high school clubs.
Since the summer of his sophomore year in high school, Brandon has taken classes at Cypress, first as a special-admit student and later as a dual-enrollment student. He became involved in the CyberPatriot Program, which prepares middle and high school students to compete in the CyberPatriots national cybersecurity competition. After graduating from high school, he became a cybersecurity mentor “so that I could give back what the mentors gave to me while I was in high school.”
Following his graduation this year, Brandon plans to continue pursuing his bachelor’s degree in computer science and engineering at UC Irvine—he was a freshman-admit student concurrently completing his first year at UC Irvine and his last year at Cypress—with hopes of landing an internship to gain industry work experience and further his career prospects.
“I have grown to be very passionate about technology and cybersecurity, as well as spreading my knowledge to others,” he said. “It’s kind of become who I am and what I’ve been known for.”
Please tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? What are your interests? What is your story?
I grew up in the Orange County area and have always learned to love computers and fiddle with them at an early age. I was fortunate to find online resources to learn things like programming as well as participate in high school clubs, which grew my love for technology.
Why did you choose Cypress College?
I have been with Cypress College since the summer of my sophomore year in high school, starting out as a special-admit student and later as a dual-enrollment student. I was initially introduced to the CyberPatriot Program, a National cybersecurity competition that the college trained high school students in the area for.
What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?
As I started in the Dual Enrollment program, I grew around its programs in the Business/CIS Division. After graduating high school, I became a cybersecurity mentor with the cyber program at Cypress so that I could give back what the mentors gave to me while I was in high school.
What are you most passionate about? Why?
I have grown to be very passionate about technology and cybersecurity, as well as spreading my knowledge to others. It’s kind of become who I am and what I’ve been known for.
Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today? How has Cypress College supported you throughout your semesters?
The very first person and the reason I got into classes in Cypress College’s cybersecurity pathway is because of Professor Ben Izadi, who pretty much ran the CyberPatriot Program and was the main professor for the cyber courses. Other adminsitrators and faculty, like Business/CIS Division Dean Henry Hua and Professor Russ Alizadeh have worked very hard to make the program work and succeed. I would also like to shout out to the other cyber mentors who taught me and who I work with, as well as the Dual Enrollment staff.
What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?
My plan is to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Engineering at UC Irvine (I was a freshman admit and am finishing up my first year right now). I am also looking for internships to grow my career and gain work experience in the industry.
What are your long-term goals? What do you aspire to?
The goal is to find a great career and grow in it. I am happy that I am able to find a field I truly enjoy working in.
What are you most proud of?
I am proud of the support system I have, whether it be my family, the staff at this college, the staff at my high school, or anyone I’ve encountered that has made me the way I am today and helped me along my journey to get where I am.
What one bit of advice would you give to current and future Cypress College students?
I would say that no matter what our goals are, there are always people you can rely on and resources you can find to help meet your goals. Everyone here is rooting for you to get to the finish line.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I would just like to, again, thank all of those who have given me support along the way, like my family and friends as well as the education community who have always supported me and all my fellow students. And I hope to get that continued support as I move on afterwards.