(ROSENBERG, Texas) - Rosit Youssef was only 13-years-old when her family moved from Egypt to the United States. She has struggled, but has persevered, and now at age 18, is one of the youngest students in Texas State Technical College’s Cybersecurity program.
“I struggled with being in a new country, but I knew we had to do this for better opportunities and so my sister and I could have a chance at an education and a better life,” she said. “But it was all still so scary.”
Yet, she overcame her biggest obstacle yet – learning English.
“I was already learning English before we left Egypt, so I understood the words, but it was speaking it that gave me problems,” said Youssef.
She quickly caught up to her classmates and ended up excelling in high school, graduating at only 16.
However, that year was unconventional in every aspect for Youssef because of the devastation Hurricane Harvey had brought to the area, her family included.
“We graduated, but without any type of honor roll because all records had been lost in the flooding, but it’s okay, I was just happy that my family and I were safe,” she said.
The Youssef’s new home was a total loss after the flooding. But what Youssef said she finds miraculous is that they were able to weather the storm safely in that same home, with no food or water.
“It’s been a bumpy road, but we’ve made it and now I’m here at TSTC working toward a career I love,” she said.
It was in 10th grade, during a TSTC recruitment presentation that Youssef realized Cybersecurity was the path she needed to take.
“I loved the idea of cyber safety and using cyber processes to help companies and individuals stay safe,” said Youssef. “So early on I knew that TSTC was the college for me.”
Youssef’s entire family is in the healthcare field but that didn’t stop her from pursuing her own passion.
“I’ve always wanted to do my own thing and my family has always been supportive,” she said. “And that’s why I’ve been able to succeed.”
Not letting her age be a barrier or excuse, Youssef currently boasts a perfect 4.0 grade-point average, was recently invited to join Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and expects to earn her associate degree in Spring 2020.
What Youssef said she loves about the college and what has made her experience positive is the focus on hands-on learning and the small class size for more one-on-one help. She said this has allowed her to find her niche in the field: Digital Forensics, where she said she’ll get to do good for this world.
“Even right now that I still have some time before graduating I already feel confident that I am ready to enter the workforce because of the practice and experience I’ve been able to get here at TSTC,” she said. “I could not have gotten this type of opportunity anywhere else.”
And as the only woman in her class, Youssef has also been able to take advantage of resources offered to non-traditional students in their field.
She has received some scholarships and has been able to use TSTC’s Lending Library, which has allowed her to borrow, instead of purchase, the books she needs.
“All of this has really saved me and my family money. I’ve only paid a minimal amount for my education,” she said. “I thank TSTC for helping their students in any way they can because now I am not in debt.”
Youssef said she hopes to finish her last semesters strong and help other women also enter the field of cybersecurity.
“This field needs more women and there’s plenty of room,” she said. “I want to encourage other women to pursue their passions without fear or intimidation because technology is advancing and we have to be a part of it.”
Cybersecurity is also offered at TSTC’s Harlingen, Marshall, North Texas, Waco and East Williamson County campuses.
For more information on TSTC Cybersecurity, visit https://tstc.edu/programs/CyberSecurity.