Emeral Emanuel was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. She completed her first master’s Degree in Compliance and Business Law at USC Gould School of Law a few years ago. At the time, in the compliance world, cybersecurity was becoming a hot topic, and Emeral wanted in. 

Landing a compliance job in cybersecurity required a little more experience and specialized expertise, however. Having moved back to Ohio from New Mexico, she reached out to CSU for advice on navigating a potential MLS. In the process of talking to them and appraising the program, Emeral made her decision. “You know what? I’m just going to get my second master’s degree,” she laughs, “And I loved it. I learned so much from it. It’s very detailed work, it’s very interesting, and it’s a great field to be in.”

Student Story with Emeral Emanuel

A Second Master’s Degree

The admissions process was seamless and simple, which helped cement her choice. Financially, her employer contributed to tuition reimbursement, which is always something to consider proposing to your own employer. This fall will be Emeral’s last semester at CSU. 

Earning a second, or even a first, master’s degree is a feat in and of itself, but Emeral also did it while having and raising a child. “I started my first semester pregnant,” and she says it only added motivation to advance her career. She didn’t even take time off; her son arrived right before Thanksgiving, and she finished her finals immediately afterwards. “He will be two years old when I graduate,” she says.

Curriculum and Challenges

Emeral has been impressed by the curriculum and faculty at CSU. She notes that she has loved the courses so far, and has glowing reviews for Professors Brian Ray and Spence Witten. The most challenging part of the program was when Spence encouraged his advanced class to not expect straightforward answers from him, but to learn to troubleshoot on their own throughout the course. “If you’re in the field, how do you figure it out? It’s a puzzle you have to put together. He made us better cybersecurity professionals. Now I’m used to doing that troubleshooting. When issues come up at work, I can figure out how to fix them.”

To this day, Professor Witten makes himself available any time for consultation or a recommendation. “He will literally guide you to the path of where you need to go and what you need to do. I love his classes.” Emeral’s particularly looking forward to taking the new Dark Web Criminology course in the fall, one of several law electives that MLS students can take if they have the flexibility to participate synchronously.

Professional Guidance

The faculty have been extremely helpful in jumpstarting her professional career, too. They have always stressed the importance of networking and aided Emeral in doing so successfully. “Professor Ray is always telling us, “If you can come to the cybersecurity awareness conference, come, because there are so many people there who can help you out. You never know who you’re going to talk to.” 

He has also advised her to curate a social media presence that shows off her cybersecurity skills; “It’s so helpful. I would never be in the position I am right now if I hadn’t started interacting with and posting content about cybersecurity.” That position is a Compliance Manager and Cyber Engineer at Dickman Technology Consultants, LLC. 

You Decide Who You Want To Be

Interacting and networking with classmates was easy, even in an online environment. “If we needed to talk to each other, we’d swap numbers or Linked profiles and reach out. It’s been really nice,” Emeral assures. Everything about the MLS at CSU was student-focused. It’s challenging, but not intense, and much more flexible. The Professors understood that sometimes life gets in the way, and allow you to prioritize what’s most important while still committing to your education. She says the general message of the program is, “You decide who you want to be, but we’re not going to put it on you.”

“I tell people all the time, ‘If you want a master’s degree, go to the school I do,’” Emeral says of CSU. She advises future online students to welcome and accept your professors’ offers to help you learn, connect, and grow. “If they say they are there for you, grasp as much information as you can. If they’re telling you to do something, it’s because they know from experience that it will benefit you.” Last but not least, network. “Every ‘no’ is not always going to be a ‘no.’ Sooner or later, it’s going to be a ‘yes.’ You’ve got to keep pushing.”