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Vanessa, a Central Florida native, attended Lake Brantley High School before continuing her education at the University of Central Florida where she received a bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering. She was involved with the student organization Women in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at UCF. She has participated in IBM's Master the Mainframe competition and CyberPatriot. She has also been invited to attend conferences such as IBM Innovate, Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, and Qualcomm's DECA (Diversity Engineering Collegiate Alignment). In high school, she was part of the Programming Team and a founding member of a girl’s robotics team which worked closely with local elementary schools. She has also been interviewed for an Orlando Sentinel article with Ruthe Farmer about women in technology. She interned with Bank of America for two summers as part of their Technology Analyst Program and has returned full time as part of their Global Information Security organization.