Success Stories

Eunice Park

Eunice Park

Undergraduate Certificate in Applied Cybersecurity

For more than 20 years, Eunice Park immersed herself in the fashion industry, a departure from her undergraduate studies in molecular biology. As a self-described people person, she credits her impatience and outgoing personality for steering her away from scientific research. Driven by a love for style and lacking a clear career direction, she found her niche in fashion management and marketing.

Eunice's transition from the fashion industry to a digital forensics and incident response analyst role at CyberMaxx is a journey of perseverance. After two decades, stress coupled with the desire for new challenges prompted Eunice to explore a new career.

Eunice was awarded a undergraduate certificate in Applied Cybersecurity in April 2023 and currently mentors SANS GFACT scholarship recipients to help others on their journey into cyber. Here she talks to us about her experience as a student at and provides insights for others considering a similar path.

"Employers pay attention when they see SANS on my resume. In fact, despite my initial lack of experience, discussing my SANS training convinced my CISO to take a chance on me to lead the DFIR department."

Q. How did you get interested in cybersecurity?

A. At the age of 41, I desired a career change, but I didn't want to pursue something that would consume considerable time or necessitate another bachelor's degree. Already established in a phase of life where my income was stable, I frequently heard about the vast and lucrative opportunities in cybersecurity. It intrigued me that I could enter this field without committing to a four-year college program. Consequently, I embarked on research to find the best program, and here I am today.

Q. What is your current position? What does that entail?

A. I am a digital forensics and incident response (DFIR) analyst. I identify, investigate, and remediate cyberattacks on behalf of CyberMaxx clients. Prior to this position, I was a security operations center (SOC) analyst at Deloitte.

Q. What do you like most about cybersecurity?

A. It’s challenging. Every day you’re faced with questions that need answers. You definitely need to be curious and inquisitive. There’s just so much to learn and so many different areas to explore. Sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming, and Imposter Syndrome is so real, but that's also what drives me to keep going.

Q. Prior to attending the SANS Technology Institute, what was your educational background?

A. I graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Initially a biology major, I soon realized it wasn't my true calling. Amidst some uncertainty, I explored various majors, eventually earning a bachelor's degree in psychology just because I found people and how to understand them intriguing. My exposure to computer science during my undergraduate years was limited to a single course. Before SANS, I also took a few web design courses too.

Q. Why did you choose to enroll in SANS Technology Institute Applied Cybersecurity Certificate program?

A. I had no computer background. I felt like an underdog, so I wanted to ensure I received the best training available. Initially, I explored several cyber bootcamps. However, after enrolling in one, I realized it wasn't the right fit. The bootcamps were expensive, and upon graduation, I wouldn't have any industry-recognized or employer expected certifications. I didn't feel a bootcamp would adequately prepare me for the job market. Then, someone mentioned, and I decided to do my research. SANS is the gold standard. Their undergraduate certificate program in Applied Cybersecurity costs the same as a three-month bootcamp, but graduates receive four highly sought-after certificates. It was an easy decision.

Q. How does SANS differ from bootcamps?

A. There's no comparison. provides gold standard industry certifications and practical training. Employers pay attention when they see SANS on my resume. In fact, despite my initial lack of experience, discussing my SANS training convinced my CISO to take a chance on me and sign off on my transfer from the SOC to lead the DFIR department. Bootcamps are expensive and don't provide the certifications that employers demand. In my opinion, bootcamps are not worth the investment.

Q. What role did play in your career trajectory?

A. I am not sure I would be working in cybersecurity without And most recently, nine days into my job, I was promoted. I attribute this to my SANS education and my GIAC certifications.

Q. How did you fund the program?

A. I funded my SANS undergraduate certificate in several ways: self-funding two courses, receiving a scholarship through the NCL tournament for the third course, and having my employer cover the fourth course.

Q. What did you find most valuable about the program?

A. The people. Instructors and peers alike. Sharing the struggles and doubts that arose during such a challenging program was reassuring. Through Slack, I connected with classmates and instructors, fostering a sense of community. Everyone was so warm, so helpful and so engaging. To this day, I remain friends with many of them.

Q. Did you take classes online or at live events? How was that experience?

A. I attended the final course in person during the SANS Cyber Defense Initiative 2022 held in Washington, DC. The in-person experience allowed me to network with fellow students and meet the instructors face-to-face. Also, since the instructor who taught in-person was different than the instructor who made the on-demand recording, I got to experience 2 different styles and methods of teaching. There's something special about those real-world connections. For all other courses, I opted for the on-demand format. This flexibility allowed me to learn whenever and wherever I wanted to instead of waiting or traveling to an in-person event.

Whether it's the buzz of in-person interactions or the convenience of on-demand learning, both approaches had their merits.

Q. Can you tell me about how the student advising experience at worked for you?

A. I'm not afraid to seek help. Although I rarely needed to consult my advisors, when I did, their guidance was invaluable. They provided advice on exam preparation and key areas of focus. Additionally, during a challenging time when my dog fell seriously ill, they offered understanding and support. Their warmth and compassion were unwavering. And Erin, in career services still checks in with me today just to see how I'm doing and to offer support.

Q. How has the Career Center helped you in your search for jobs?

A. The Career Center was exceptional. My career counselor, Erin, assisted me in job applications after I completed my GSEC. When I was laid off, Erin provided invaluable support and resources. Her caring approach extended to both personal and professional matters.

Q. What advice would you offer someone considering applying to the SANS Technology Institute?

A. Do it! I am inspired by how far I've come and I want to pay it forward. That is why I am always promoting and agreed to mentor the GFACT scholarship cohorts. I feel immense excitement when I hear from others who are considering enrolling in SANS. I always tell everyone you're going to love it and gain tremendous value from It's unequivocally the most enjoyable and meaningful learning experience I've ever had. While it won't be a walk in the park, I know you can conquer it - I did!

Q. What's next for you?

A. I plan to enroll in the graduate certificate program in Incident Response. Following that, I'm contemplating enrolling in the master's degree program. Recognizing that certain government positions mandate a degree, I see significant value in pursuing this educational path. Plus, I also have a strong interest in red teaming/pen testing so if I can earn more SANS certificates that can be applied towards earning a master’s degree, why not? I'm hooked!


Secure Your Future

The SANS Technology Institute offers career-focused master’s degree, graduate certificate, bachelor’s degree and undergraduate certificate programs on the cutting edge of cybersecurity.

Need more information? We’re happy to answer your questions. Join us for an info session, email or call 301.241.7665.

Ready to apply? We look forward to learning about you and your cybersecurity career goals.