Senior Caroline Boozer may seem like an average computer science and engineering student, but once you get to know her, she is anything but ordinary.
Boozer lived in France for seven years, excels at golf, and in her junior year, decided to add cyber intelligence to her growing list of accolades. She chose cyber intelligence, a degree offered by the University of South Carolina College of Arts and Sciences, to be a more well-rounded student and to stand out to future employers.
“When I heard about cyber intelligence at UofSC, I immediately thought of cybersecurity, and that is where my interest lies. That is what I wanted to do, and I was so excited,” Boozer says.
Boozer will graduate in May with degrees in computer science and cyber intelligence. Combining the two essentially creates a do-it-yourself cybersecurity degree. Boozer was committed to completing both degrees, even though it forced her to adjust her schedule to maintain the same graduation date. But her passion for cyber security, which she says is partially due to living abroad, has encouraged her to keep pushing forward.
“There were a couple of things that they [advisors] had verbally promised to count. They worked a lot with me, like counting a vector calculus class for a random class that I needed,” Boozer says.
Boozer’s interest with computers and software began in her childhood with countless opportunities to experiment with technology. These experiences eventually led her to follow a career path in computer science and cybersecurity.
“When I was little, I actually wanted to do interior design. When I would watch “Property Brothers” on HGTV, they threw everything on a computer and mapped it out, and I thought that was the coolest thing ever,” Boozer says. “I thought to myself that my interest is in the software they’re using, and that's what I wanted to do. I wanted to design the software and found myself being more interested in the actual software that they were using. I thought it was fun being able to use a computer to find and put the [problematic] pieces together.”
Along with completing a dual degree, Boozer works as systems programmer and help desk manager for UofSC’s Palmetto College. She is responsible for developing and implementing new technology for all students.
“I just redid the textbook app by myself, although my boss did have to help me because it was a new language. It was fun to use what I'm learning in class. I also do programming and website changes, and now I've also taken on the security role,” Boozer says.
Boozer always tries to be actively involved in her classes and is sometimes inspired by a fellow student or professor. Even though she expects to face struggles in her career, she will continue to pursue her dreams with determination and relevant experiences.
“Caroline’s definitely never going to get taken advantage of. She'll do a good job of getting what she earns,” says Portia Plante, an instructor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering.
Palmetto College IT Director Bob Dyer says Boozer is down-to-earth, easygoing and hardworking. But he also believes that she has the natural talents and determination to power through any obstacles, which is an essential trait for a cyber security career.
“What I like about Caroline is that I can give her a challenge,” Dyer says. “She'll take it and do everything possible to try to overcome the challenge.”