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Tyelisa with her computers, displaying  a smaller device in her hands.
Tyelisa Shields
Hometown: Concord, NC
Workplace: Hewlett-Packard, Boise, ID
Education: BS, Computer Science, Grambling State University (Grambling, LA); MS, Information Technology-Information Security, Carnegie Mellon University
Hobbies: Bowling, basketball, shopping, playing pool, watching movies, staying connected with family and friends through Facebook.
Fun Fact: "I talk so much that my friends call me the Blah Blah Queen."

I research ways to fight cybercrime and identity theft.

—Tyelisa Shields

Digital detective
Tyelisa specializes in the area of information security. "I've done a lot of research into how hackers can gain access to someone's personal information. I want to help prevent identity theft and other cybercrimes by finding risk areas in computer systems."

What's her passion?
Protecting our security. "I celebrated my 16th birthday on September 12, 2001—the day after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. That's when I started thinking about how important security is. Once I started taking computer science courses, I realized that cyber security was an area in which I could make a difference in people's lives."

Up in the clouds
Tyelisa recently started a job at Hewlett-Packard in the emerging field of cloud computing—another area she's passionate about. Instead of needing a hard drive or server to store email, photos, music files, or software, cloud computing provides storage and services over the Internet, or cloud. "It's really exciting working with cutting-edge technology," says Tyelisa.

Advice for teens
"I grew up in a single-parent home in an urban neighborhood. All odds were against me for pursuing higher education, but I overcame a number of obstacles and ended up getting a full scholarship in graduate school. Because there aren't many women in computer science, lots of scholarships and grants are available. Be persistent and find mentors to help guide you along the way."