My name is Shawn Duong, and I’m a computer hacker. When most people think of “hacker,” they conjure an image of what is actually a “cybercriminal,” but I am actually referring to the original definition of the term before it was hijacked and bastardized by the media: an individual with a deep and profound appreciation for computers who combines technical knowledge with creative thinking to accomplish otherwise impossible results.
I’ve been programming ever since I was a young child, but I didn’t start hacking until high school, and my hacking didn’t find a purpose until I became a digital rights and freedom activist in college. I believe in a world in which our data is safe, a world that respects the user, and a world where our devices are instruments of liberation rather than instruments of oppression. I am passionate about freedom, and that is why I fight for the users.
Currently, I am studying Computer Science and Engineering at the University of California, Merced, employed by UC Merced IT Network and Extension. After college, I am going to steer my career into cybersecurity to pursue what I view as my life’s true calling. My current specializations as a computer hacker are open-source intelligence, digital forensics, and computer networking, and although I am not currently looking for any full-time positions, I am open to opportunities in the summer or after I graduate that could utilize my skills.
I am the founder, administrator, and one of three board members at IrisSec, an American computer hacking club for college students and IT professionals. At IrisSec, I aim to promote a casual and enjoyable learning environment for all members. We help each other out, have fun at computer hacking competitions, share learning resources, and are overall just there for each other. If you’re interested in learning more about IrisSec, then you can check out our official club website here.
Aside from computer hacking, I am also known for my contributions to environmentalism and sustainability. In high school, I was a key member of the California Drought Response Outreach Program for Schools, having received awards from Climate Resolve and Orange County Coastkeeper for my involvement. I also became a registered member of the Sierra Club, one of the largest environmental organizations in the United States. In college, I continued my work by becoming a volunteer for the university’s Sustainability department and currently serve as an executive officer on the Solar Energy Association at UC Merced, one chapter in the much larger American Solar Energy Society.
I love what I do so much that I want to teach others to love it too, so I became a teacher! I started teaching computer programming during my senior year of high school and continue to this day because I find it incredibly fulfilling to instill in others a passion that exists in myself. Although I started by teaching Python programming, I have since expanded to teach other topics. For a full list of courses that I offer, please visit the “Learn” section of this website. I am proud to say that I’ve made a meaningful difference in the lives of many of the students that I’ve taught, many of whom have realized their passion for computer science and have decided to pursue a college degree, change careers to computer science, or otherwise just have a neat new hobby!
Well, that scratches the surface of who I am! For the rest, you’ll just have to experience it. You can connect with me via Twitter or GitHub, or send an email to the inbox found in the “Contact” section if you’d like to get in touch with me. Until then, happy hacking!