I wouldn’t say I’m sheltered, but I haven’t gotten out of Vermont much growing up. In fact this was only my second time flying anywhere, so going somewhere as incredible as Las Vegas was astounding. I learned so much at the Enfuse Conference about so many different things but I also had time to explore!
Do you have a favorite celebrity? I do, and I got to meet her! Theresa Payton worked as Chief Information Officer in the White House during the George W. Bush Administration, but even more than that she was the first woman to assume that role. Women don’t exactly make up the majority in tech, so being able to meet and talk to someone who has faced and transcended many of the challenges I am currently facing was incredibly inspiring and motivating.
Being in a city as big as Las Vegas was an overwhelming thought, but I was able to find my way around just fine thanks to other students attending with me. The first time I went out by myself it took over an hour for what should have been a 15 minute walk… I just wanted some Chipotle. Still, not only was Enfuse a great opportunity to network with professionals like Theresa Payton, but I also got closer with many of my peers whom I otherwise wouldn’t have ever gotten to know.
An Extended Stay in Vegas
There is a chance that I will never get an opportunity like this again so I am thankful for the blessing in disguise when my flight back home got cancelled due to inclement weather. I wasn’t very happy at first and definitely overwhelmed seeing as I had such limited flying experience, but the faculty that was there helped me figure things out. Ultimately the airline paid for a hotel room and flew me out a few days later. In the meantime, I got some of the best fish and chips I’ve ever had, explored the biggest pet shop I’d ever seen (I have 11 dogs, a hedgehog, 2 bunnies, and a fish, and I brought home a new bed for my hedgehog), and visited an incredible aquarium filled with predatory species.
While I learned an incredible amount during the trip about cybersecurity and digital forensics, I gained something even more valuable. I learned a little bit about what it means to be a professional in an adult world by networking, navigating unfamiliar places, and of course, playing with some fun new tech.