How a CMU-Africa student combines cybersecurity, leadership, and community

Mastercard Foundation Scholar: Ines Ituze Agasaro (MSIT '24)

Emma Skidmore

Oct 11, 2023

Headshot of Ines

Source: Ines Ituze Agasaro

At Carnegie Mellon University Africa, Ines Ituze Agasaro is pursuing a master's degree in information technology, focusing on cybersecurity to contribute to software development throughout the continent.
"There are a lot of systems and apps out there being built, but there is a gap with the security," Ines says. "Especially in Africa, I would say that we are still a bit behind in the security field. I want to contribute, specifically related to financial technology."
Ines sees CMU-Africa and her affiliation with the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program as valuable stepping stones in achieving this goal. Through the Program, Ines has gleaned valuable leadership skills she has been able to apply to her work. As a Mastercard Foundation Scholar at CMU-Africa, Ines has the opportunity to participate in several leadership development training sessions. The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program has given me access to grow as a person and as a leader," she says. "One of the things I took from the Mastercard Foundatin Scholars leadership seminars was to network, and what helped me to excel in my internship were those key things we learned."

Ines, who worked as a software engineering intern with JP Morgan in Bournemouth over the summer, said she was nervous at the beginning of the internship. She explained the difficulty in getting a cybersecurity internship because of confidentiality processes and said at first; she was worried she had gotten rusty in terms of software engineering.

"But, one key thing that CMU has taught me is how to manage different workloads," she says. "I just took on that mentality that, 'Yes, it is new, but you can always learn and adapt to provide excellent results.’ It was a little challenging, but I wouldn’t trade the experience I gained from the internship for anything."

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program has given me access to grow as a person and as a leader.

Ines Ituze Agasaro, MSIT student and Mastercard Foundation Scholar
Ines speaks highly of her experience with JP Morgan and says the internship allowed her to work on her career growth and personal development. She was also able to exercise her networking and leadership skills and found she was even able to work with the cybersecurity team on some projects.

"They give you that space to learn but also deliver," she says.

Ines also said exploring Bournemouth helped her expand her worldview, build confidence, and discover more about herself. She hopes to keep impacting her community through CMU-Africa and the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program.

"One thing I love about the Program is that every semester, we do a give-back project, which is personal to me," she said. "I aspire to have a startup to give back to my community and empower others."