2018 Undergrad Scholarship Winner Knows the Value of a Backup Plan

Julia Neuvirth knows exactly what to do when confronted with a possible data security issue. “The first thing I do is call my dad,” she says.

Julia is the winner of the 2018 DRI Foundation $5,000 college scholarship for a current undergrad. She’s a sophomore at Alma College where she has a nearly perfect GPA and a double major in elementary education and social studies. Her dad is Jim Neuvirth, a CBCP who works in information assurance for the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

While dad might be her first call, Julia is plenty tech savvy all on her own. She put that knowledge to use when writing her essay which answered the DRI Foundation’s question: Given the risks and indispensability of mobile devices, what measure would you suggest that governments, institutions and individuals take to protect the integrity and confidentiality of information? Read her essay here.

“Your essay showed a deep understanding of the issues that face students today and insightful suggestions for how to provide better solutions. It is not hard to see why you were the unanimous choice of our volunteer scholarship committee,” said DRI Foundation President Al Berman. “On behalf of DRI International and its Foundation I want to congratulate you on being the 2018 recipient of the DRI Foundation Undergraduate Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded to the undergraduate who has demonstrated academic excellence, but more importantly has given of themselves to help others and who has considered how to make their community and the greater world better prepared. It is hard to believe that you have accomplished this during your first year at Alma College. I am hoping that you will receive as much satisfaction from this calling as you are giving to those who will have their lives changed by your presence.”

Julia plans to be an elementary school teacher, with a special interest in teaching eighth grade. Although she’s brave enough to take on a classroom full of middle schoolers, Julia says she does have a backup plan, thus the double major.

“I think with the way like with what my parents’ jobs are it really has shown me that I need to have some sort of plan,” she says. “Just in case teaching doesn’t work out or something happens and I can’t find a job. I need to have some sort of backup.”

While we’re sure Julia won’t need to enact her career backup plans, we’re impressed that she’s so attuned to the risks of mobile devices and the need to have a plan when those risks become realities.

“A lot of my friends have no idea. They don’t have a backup plan in case their phone dies and they’re in the middle of nowhere. My college is great because they have an IT department that you can take your phone to your computer to and they’ll help you with that. But a lot of kids don’t even know where that is on campus. And then a lot of them just don’t even know the signs of an infected computer If I have something random pop up on my screen, the first thing I do is call my dad.”

For his part, her dad “can’t say enough about her. We’re just so proud of her accomplishments. She has excelled in school without compromising her own personal beliefs. She’s just so dedicated.”