Graduate Alumni Spotlight | Sneha Soni, M.S.’20

Sneha Soni

“To me, Hood College is one of the best colleges in the U.S., and it provides all kinds of unique experiences to the student. The faculty, students and other staff members are very helpful and friendly. Hood is a place that gives equal chances to every student to enhance their knowledge and personal development.”

Sneha Soni, M.S.’20

Graduation Year

2020

Program

  • Cybersecurity (M.S., C)
  • Computer Science (M.S.)
  • Information Technology (M.S.)
  • Management Information Systems (M.S.)

Department

  • Computer Science & Information Technology

Sneha Soni, M.S.20, is a recent graduate of Hood Colleges masters in cybersecurity program and was an international student from India. Currently, Sneha works as a cybersecurity analyst for the TCW Group based in Los Angeles, California. Before Hood College, Sneha earned a bachelors degree in information technology and worked as a software developer back in her home country of India.

Sneha spoke to us about her time in the cybersecurity program and her experiences navigating graduate school as an international student.

What made you interested in Hood College?

To me, Hood College is one of the best colleges in the U.S., and it provides all kinds of unique experiences for students. The faculty, students and other staff members are very helpful and friendly. Hood College is a place that gives equal chances to every student to enhance their knowledge and personal development.

The course structure at the College also interested me, as it focuses on studying, projects, presentations and so many skills that help with career development. Additionally, Hood has a large campus and all kinds of amenities for students.

What was it like applying for STEM-OPT? How long did it take to be accepted?

Applying for Optional Practical Training Extension for STEM Students (STEM-OPT) is a very easy process.

You can apply 90 days in advance before your initial OPT ends. You need to fill out the form and send it to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) with the necessary documents.

If all your documents are legit and proper, you will get your Employee Authorization Document (EAD) card very easily. I would suggest reaching out to International Student Services and the Principal Designated School Official (PDSO) for more details.

What was the process of obtaining an H1B visa like?

For the H1B visa, you must first go through the Diversity Visa Program. Your company will register you first and then send all the documents to USCIS. If your application gets picked in the lottery, then your company will file processing.

Once the processing is done, you will have to travel back to your home country for stamping. I would suggest staying in touch with your PSDO for visa-related information.

What company are you currently working for?

I am currently working as a cybersecurity analyst for the Trust Company of the West (TCW Group). It is based in Los Angeles, California, and I love working for the company.

How do you think studying at Hood will help you in your career and life?

Hood College is the best thing that has happened to me. I have learned multiple things here which helped in my professional and personal life. I have made so many friends here.

I also received an opportunity to work as Graduate Teaching Assistant. This gave me a chance to interact with many wonderful students, share my experiences with them and learn from them. Participating in a cybersecurity competition also helped me get real-time experience.

I have studied hard and had a lot of fun at Hood. I want to thank Dr. George Dimitoglou, Dr. Carol Jim,Dr. Ahmed Salem, Dr. Donald Wright, Dr. April Boulton and Dr. Amani Al-Dajane for their continuous guidance. 

Do you have advice or insight you would like to share with potential international students looking at Hood College?

I would suggest just going for Hood Collegedon’t think twice about it. From my perspective, it is the best college you could choose. You will get so many chances to succeed. You will also get opportunities to participate in competitions that will help you get experience with your career.

I would also recommend attending Career Center internships and job fairs from time to time. They organize Optional Practical Training (OPT) and Curricular Practical Training (CPT) workshops to explain various processes which are very helpful. You should try to attend as many events as you can to build connections. Finally, I would suggest making use of the library, lounge and cafeteria for studying and having fun.

Are there any fun facts or other details about yourself that you would like to share?

I am a very easy-going person, and I love to have fun by going out, exploring new places and trying different types of foods. I keep my cybersecurity skills fresh by following news, blogs and podcasts. I have also celebrated festivals all around the world, such as Holi, Diwali and Eid.

Inspired by Sneha’s story and ready to #GOFURTHER in your career? Learn about Hood’s graduate programs, including the cybersecurity program, by clicking here.