Discovering a Path
Major: B.S. Informatics with a cognate in Security
Raygen Wintner is someone who doesn’t often struggle to see a path for herself.
When she was a student at Carmel High School in Carmel, Indiana, she was focused and driven both in the classroom and on the soccer field. She excelled in her classes, learned American Sign Language, and she was planning on playing soccer at Maryville University in St. Louis. Her path seemed to be clear.
Then Wintner’s path suddenly took a turn when she made a last-minute decision to focus on her academic career. She decided to enroll at IU where a number of her friends were headed. Wintner visited once, liked what she saw, and got on board. If she had to find her way, at least she could be surrounded by some familiar faces.
Wintner soon found herself a home at the School of Informatics and Computing, and she discovered an outlet for her competitive drive that had been fostered during her soccer days in the realm of security.
“Security is something where you can’t sit back on your heels,” Wintner says. “You can’t wait for things to happen. You have to constantly be on defense, and that’s something that was cool to me about security. You’re always learning more things, and people are always trying to beat you. You continually have to learn.”
Wintner also found that she was far from alone on her journey. She developed relationships with both the faculty and staff at SoIC, and she has seen those connections lead to surprising results.
“I had the opportunity to work full-time for an internship, but it required me to take a semester off,” Wintner says. “I originally thought it wouldn’t be possible because I was in school, but I went into the Career Services office and told somebody about the opportunity.
“They brought in other people to figure out how I could get dual credit and still graduate on time. It was one of the most comforting feelings to know that I was able to get what I wanted out of my education, and there were people who were caring enough to figure out how to help me do that.”
That internship, which saw Wintner serve as a cybersecurity analytics intern at Anthem Insurance in Indianapolis, has once again given Wintner a clear vision of her future.
“It has been the best experience I could have asked for,” Wintner says “It is definitely shaping my career. I want to continue in cybersecurity, and I wouldn’t have known that if it wasn’t for the internship.”
The junior has gotten involved with different SoIC committees, and she was a consultant with University Information Technology Services, but she doesn’t view those experiences as resume builders. She sees them as an early opportunity to give back to the school.
“When I worked at UITS, a family on a visit looked lost outside in the hallway,” Wintner says. “I asked if they needed any help. The girl wanted to go to Purdue, and her whole family was at IU for generations. Her parents were upset about it, and her uncle brought her down to walk around the school. He explained the situation, and I suggested we go on a tour. We walked around the library, and she kept asking questions, so I told her we could go around the whole school. I spent a good amount of the day with them. It was a way of giving back, and it helped me build contacts as well.”
Wintner dreams of a future as a Chief Information Security Officer at a large company, and she’s looking forward to the day when she can make an even bigger impact at the School.
“I tell people all the time that I can’t wait to give back because ‘thank you’ is not going to be enough,” Wintner says. “I can’t wait to be the person who can mentor a student or help them along their path. People at SoIC have been willing to help me without getting anything personally out of it, and I’m looking forward to filling that role in the future.”