Dr. Rika Yoshii: Building a Unique Master of Science in Cybersecurity Program at CSUSM
By David Ogul
Dr. Rika Yoshii grew up in Point Loma wanting to become a rock star. Instead, she found her passion at Cal State San Marcos, where she has served as the chair of the Computer Science and Information Systems Department and is now the interim faculty director of the new Master of Science in cybersecurity program.
“San Diego is a cybersecurity hub,” said Yoshii. “We have many military installations and we have many defense industry partners all in the area. So it is really important to have a good cybersecurity program.”
But this isn’t just any cybersecurity program. It is the only professional science master’s program in cybersecurity in the state and one of just a handful in the nation.
“We are creating the future leaders who can be chief information security officers, who can understand policy, governance and management issues, in addition to the technical side.”
Yoshii earned her Ph.D. in computer science from UC Irvine and worked as a project leader at Rockwell and a researcher for the Northrop Research and Technology Center before joining the computer science department at CSUSM in 1993 to pursue her love of teaching.
Her areas of expertise include developing adaptive intelligent tutoring software.
“I love teaching more than anything else,” Yoshii said. “Even my research is related to learning. CSUSM is where I can help a diverse population of students reach their full potential. Throughout my life, teachers have had a great influence on me. Without them I would not be where I am today. I want to encourage and help all students to become whatever they want to become.”