A former Kingsbridge Community College pupil will be representing the UK at the European Cyber Security Challenge in October.
Sophia McCall, 19, will be travelling to Malaga, Spain on an all expenses paid trip, to compete in online challenges with ethical hackers from 15 other European countries.
The European Cyber Security Challenge is an annual event supported by the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security. The aim of which is to discover young and emerging cyber security talent across Europe. To qualify, Sophia had to go through a face-to-face qualification process.
She is currently studying for a BSc degree in cyber security management at Bournemouth University. She is also a student ambassador for Cyber Security Challenge UK, which involves her travelling around the country to different universities and events to promote the importance of cyber security and scout for talented young ethical hackers.
When Sophia graduates, she hopes to work as an ethical hacker and a penetration tester - whereby she would be given permission to try and find security vulnerabilities within a company’s computer system.
Sophia attended Kingsbridge Community College between 2012 and 2014, where she studied under Rob Courtice who helped her prepare for a GCSE in computer science. She then went on to South Devon College, Paignton to study for a BTEC in software development.
Mr Courtice said: “Sophia was an extremely creative student, she had a great attitude and adeptness at learning and picked up complex problems incredibly quickly. Her work ethic was second to none and I remember requiring many extension activities and additional projects for her!
“I also remember Sophia as a quiet and humble person with a great sense of humour. What a great role model Sophia is, a great inspiration to prove that computer science is not just for the boys!
“It was a pleasure to teach Sophia and I am not surprised that she is making waves already, good luck at the championships!”
Sophia said: “My grandma Betty was a very-well known person in Kingsbridge. She was a flower arranger and was also secretary of the Cookworthy Museum for a number of years.
“Betty sadly lost her life as a result of a break-in to her house in 1991. Kingsbridge has always been a special place for my family, especially after the tragedy of my grandmother, after which the community were wonderful in supporting the family.”
Sophia continued: “Kingsbridge Community College were absolutely brilliant while I was studying there. They honestly were the foundations and building blocks to help me get to where I am now.
“I’m the only girl who made it to the team. I hope this encourages more girls to get into IT,” said Sophia.