Michele Robinson ’05

Securing the State's Digital Data - And Yours

When Michele Robinson ’05 can’t sleep at night, it’s because she’s worried about protecting your personal data from hackers. As California’s chief information security officer (CISO), she works to prevent the DMV, Medi-Cal, and other state agencies from falling prey to cyberattacks.

Recognizing government’s enormous responsibility to protect the information technology that delivers essential public services and the personal data it collects, Robinson says her focus has been “to raise awareness about the threat landscape, promote good data stewardship, and foster public-private partnerships that can address the cybersecurity challenges we face.”

Robinson attended USF’s information systems program in Sacramento, where she attended classes at night and on weekends — the only time she had free. She was drawn to USF while working at the California Department of Consumer Affairs, thanks to the recommendation of her boss, mentor, and USF organizational behavior alumna Teressa Ciau ’88.

As a single mother of two, Robinson’s road wasn’t always easy. But USF opened doors for her she hadn’t imagined, Robinson says.

She enjoyed the information systems program for its small classes, challenging curriculum, and spirit of giving back. She still remembers a community service project, repairing computers and providing network security for Francis House Center, which serves the disadvantaged in Sacramento.

“I liked the community service class project so much. It made me feel like I was making a difference in my field of study and also embodying USF principles by helping a nonprofit and the people it served,” Robinson says. “As a single parent, I’ve been in tough spots financially, so I could relate to those needing access to the types of services being provided.”