Advancing the Exceptional - Student Profiles

Woman wearing a colorful shirt and scarf.

Emily Parana

Cybersecurity MicroMasters Program Certificate, ’18;
Computing Security MS, RIT, ’19

I’m funding this all on my own, so I feel the investment of every cent and want to absorb as much knowledge as I can. It’s been a great, flexible transition back into being a student.

From MicroMasters® program certificate to RIT master’s degree

Meet Emily Parana, Computing Security MS, ’19

Written by Scott Bureau, Senior Communications Specialist, RIT 

Emily Parana began instructing computing classes as an adjunct professor at University of Pittsburgh at Bradford a few years ago and immediately caught the teaching bug. 

She decided that if she wanted to continue teaching, she needed to hone her cybersecurity skills and earn a master’s degree. However, between her current job as a technical analyst II at the college, having two young children at home and living in the small town of Bradford, Pa., she needed a flexible online option. 

After some research, she discovered RIT’s fully-online master’s program in computing security. She was also introduced to RITx—a new partnership that RIT had with the nonprofit online learning platform edX.

RIT was one of the first universities to offer a MicroMasters program on edX. This new graduate-level learning opportunity would allow Parana to try a few online offerings with RIT instructors and earn a RITx MicroMasters certificate in cybersecurity. She would then have the chance to take it a step further and apply that certificate toward earning an accelerated and reduced-cost master’s degree from RIT.

“I’m funding this all on my own, so I feel the investment of every cent and want to absorb as much knowledge as I can,” said Parana, who completed the MicroMasters program in 2018. “It’s been a great, flexible, transition back into being a student.” 

MicroMasters programs are designed for learners with an undergraduate degree who are looking to advance their careers and learn new skills. Learners who successfully earn an RITx MicroMasters certificate may apply for admission to the RIT program that offers a pathway to credit aligned with their certificate. If accepted, students may be awarded nine credit hours toward their graduate degree requirements—which typically take about 30 credits to complete.

When asked if all the hard work and expense was worth it, Emily said, “Learning online at RIT was flexible, and I can justify every cent into my future.”