Name: Riya K.
Position: Cybersecurity Intern
University: University of Maryland, College Park
Dream destination: Tokyo
Drink or treat of choice: Iced coffee
If there’s one thing you take away from talking to computer engineering major and Maryland native Riya, it’s that you shouldn’t bet against her.
“Going into college, many people questioned if I wanted to stick to my major in computer engineering because they heard it was hard,” says Riya, who did, in fact, stick with her major — specifically specializing in cybersecurity. “People also told me that getting an internship after just finishing my first year of college would be extremely hard. Hearing all this, I thought my chances of getting anything with be close to zero, but Marriott took a chance on me.”
Riya is taking part in Marriott’s HQ Fellowship/Internship Program, spending her summer working with the security architecture team in global information systems.
“To me, this internship is an opportunity to show people that I’m capable of doing great things and that I’m just as capable as anyone else,” says Riya. “My Marriott internship meant that I was able to beat the odds.”
According to Riya, she’ll be able to walk away from her internship with a better understanding of how cybersecurity can be used in the “real world.”
“Becoming a part of the security global technology team these past few weeks has shown me sides of cybersecurity I had never even thought about,” says Riya. “I have gained valuable insight into the inner workings of the private business industry, and it has helped me to understand the importance of protecting different types of data along with the risk and consequences of each type.”
Learn more about Riya’s cybersecurity internship experience, in her own words, below.
What made Marriott a good fit for your skills and interests?
When I heard about the opportunity to be a Marriott fellow/intern, the idea of working in the hospitality industry and learning from the best in the business was very appealing. After researching Marriott and its culture more, it was the perfect fit for my skills and interests as it allowed me to combine my hospitality background with my technical and analytical skills.
Why did you ultimately pick a Marriott Internship over all the other options available to college students?
Marriott’s slogan, “People First,” is a new perspective that you don’t see in many businesses. I wanted to be part of a company that cares about its employees and customers first, and Marriott clearly demonstrated their commitment to that mission. The opportunities also offered were unparalleled, with internships in different divisions, leadership development opportunities, and so much more.
In your eyes, what makes Marriott stand out from other companies?
Marriott stands out because their mission is true to them. They are focused on creating unforgettable experiences for their customers and they are dedicated to creating a diverse and inclusive environment for their employees. They also place a lot of importance on giving back to the communities they serve, and they show their commitment through their various programs and initiatives.
How has the program impacted your own career aspirations?
Becoming a part of the Security Global Technology team these past few weeks has shown me sides of cybersecurity I never even thought about. I have gained valuable insight into the inner workings of the private business industry, and it has helped me to understand the importance of protecting different types of data along with the risk and consequences of each type. It has also solidified my desire to pursue a career in security and I am excited to keep learning and evolving with the technology Marriott incorporated in their systems.
Where are you hoping your Marriott internship takes you?
As someone who is considering a future in the cyber world, working at Marriott is a step closer to getting there. I am hoping that my Marriott internship takes me down a path to gain valuable experience in the field of technology and cybersecurity. I am looking forward to learning more about security architecture with my team, while also learning more about the different aspects that go into the security operations field. My goal is to use this experience to grow my knowledge and skills in the cybersecurity industry, and to gain a greater understanding of how engineering and security work together.
What’s next for you?
My next step would be to look into a minor in general business. I am open to various career paths, but now I am interested in the hospitality industry. I would like to join a team where I can make a positive impact and continue to learn and grow in a supportive environment.