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ASU alumna stays connected to university and community

April 26, 2007

She graduated seven years before the advent of the “New American University,” but 1995 alumna Kristy Westphal could have been the mold from which Arizona State University President Michael Crow’s vision sprang.  Now the chief information security officer for the Department of Economic Security (DES), Westphal has been there and is doing that when it comes to the New American University’s focus on engagement, social responsibility, and public service. 

She earned her bachelor’s degree in finance at the University of Arizona in 1991 before enrolling in ASU’s School of Global Management and Leadership located on the West campus.  Following graduation in 1995, Westphal accepted a business analyst position with AT&T/NCR, responsible for installing and administering mainframe network systems within an 80-user office.  At the same time, she was taking her first big leap into giving back to ASU, beginning an eight-year stint as a board member of ASU’s MBA alumni chapter.

“ASU has shown me the importance of giving back to the community and staying active and involved,” says Westphal, whose professional skills in security areas include forensics, operating system and network security, intrusion detection, incident handling, vulnerability analysis, and policy development.  “I have been very fortunate to work with some really great people who do an incredible amount to help out the community they live in.”

During her stretch on the MBA alumni chapter’s board of directors, Westphal dug even deeper.  She served as ASU’s West campus Alumni Association inaugural chapter president from 1996 to 1998, and was past president from 1998 to 2000, at which time she began a four-year run as an association board member.  She was an ASU Alumni Association board member from 1997 to 1998 and again from 1999 through 2005.  From 2003-2004, she served as co-chair of the ASU Alumni Leadership Institute and she currently sits on ASU’s Founders’ Day committee.

“Kristy was instrumental in developing alumni activities on the West campus,” says Bobbi Magdaleno, ASU director of alumni and community relations.  “She has a unique ability to lead a new organization, and because of that ability, a strong foundation of alumni programming was built.  Today, with her leadership and support, there are eight thriving alumni chapters on the West campus.

In addition to Westphal’s enthusiastic commitment to her alma mater, she also has taken it to the streets, this year celebrating seven years of volunteer service to Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Central Arizona.  She also is putting the wraps on her first year as a member of the Phoenix Community Emergency Response Team.

“I didn’t really think about being this involved with ASU and even the community while I was in school,” she says.  “But, I’m so glad I’m involved.  I like to do what I can to help causes and organizations I believe in.  I’ve been inspired by some great people – classmates, professors, friends and associates.”

“ASU has become truly a presence here in the community, not only in its stand-alone efforts, but in becoming a true partner to the area.  Watching the downtown campus, for example, grow into its new role is exciting and so promising for helping to revitalize not only the campus sections, but all of downtown.”

And, while Kristy Westphal continues to refine and offer her ASU-inspired community leadership talents, on a daily basis she is also putting into practice the global management and leadership skills she learned as a student.

“My degree from the School of Global Management and Leadership has given me the background needed to take on the information security industry,” she says confidently.  “The things that I studied for my degree at ASU apply every day in what I do at DES.  The boundaries between countries get foggier every day.  This causes a lot of trust issues between businesses, and this in turn makes information security a lot tougher.

 “It’s a great challenge and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”