For Computing Specialist, MLS Program a Matter of National Security
Searching for a path to accelerate her career in the cybersecurity field, Erica Tinsley ’17 turned to Loyola’s Master of Science in Legal Studies (MLS), with a specialization in Cybersecurity & Data Privacy. The degree program already has helped her in her current position, and she has her sights set on using the knowledge she acquires to climb higher in her industry.
As a computing specialist at the Aerospace Corporation, an El Segundo-based leader in the defense and aeronautics field, Tinsley must stay abreast of developments in information technology management. “We support space missions,” she said. “We have a responsibility to the country to protect our cyber infrastructure.”
Tinsley has been applying her classroom knowledge to the workplace. “We’re designing information security policies in one of my classes,” she said, referring to Incident Response & Investigation (Cyber Forensics), one of the courses available to MLS students. “This information is invaluable because I will gain the knowledge to make important contributions throughout my career.”
Tinsley envisions herself as a liaison between the legal and IT teams at her company, which counts about 4,000 total employees. She already supports the IT infrastructure for the entire enterprise, and sees other ways in which to use her newfound knowledge: “The program at Loyola is so exciting and rewarding.”
Student life has come easy for Tinsley, who quickly formed connections with fellow students. With a busy work schedule, she uses apps like Facetime to connect with study group members. But her preference is always to meet in person. “I love the campus – how it’s small and easy to get access to resources. I like the classrooms. They’re not overcrowded. And the professors are really accessible.”
Tinsley sometimes finds herself learning as much from her peers as her professors. “The MLS students bring a wealth of different knowledge to the classroom. Some of them have technical backgrounds. I learn from them and they learn things from me.” Additionally, she has taken advantage of unique field trips such as a behind-the-scenes look at Southern California Edison’s cybersecurity approach.
Tinsley views all the pieces of her MLS education as a clear pathway to career advancement. “Most cybersecurity programs are centered strictly around engineering and computer science. This program is so unique because it provides the data privacy and the foundational legal courses,” she said. “I understand the technology, and the MLS will help me work with lawyers to fill in gaps. It will allow me to reach my goal of becoming a trailblazer in cybersecurity.”
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