Young cybercrime pioneer receives recognition

Alumni Achiever of the Year Charlotte Knill

Published on 29 November 2017

A little over a year after Charlotte Knill left university she has made a name for herself as a leading light for women in science in the region.

Now Charlotte, a Digital Forensics Investigator at Northumbria Police, has received official recognition for her achievements. This week she was named the University of Sunderland’s Alumni Achiever of the Year at their annual awards ceremonies at the Stadium of Light.

Charlotte, 24, from Sunderland, graduated in 2016 with a BSc Computer Forensics degree. After graduating she worked in the private sector for Security Risk Management, before taking up her current post with Northumbria Police.

While still at university Charlotte created the website, Female Tech Blog, aimed at encouraging women into cybersecurity careers. Her posts have attracted followers from around the world, and have led to her giving talks throughout the country, including for GCHQ.

“I was surprised at the nomination, because when you leave university you don't really think about how hard you've worked. You just kind of get on with it,” she says. “I'm not afraid to say I've worked hard to get where I am, and this award shows that hard work does pay off.

“To know that the University of Sunderland recognises that hard work shows how supportive they are.”

Professor Alastair Irons, Academic Dean and Professor of Computer Science at the University, nominated Charlotte for the award.  He says: “Right from her first day at Sunderland Charlotte was focussed and clearly motivated to learn everything she could about computer forensics.

“Charlotte’s professionalism in her chosen career is exemplary, and she frequently comes back to Sunderland to encourage others to follow in her footsteps.

“It is a pleasure and a privilege to nominate Charlotte. The work she has done in promoting STEM careers for females has benefited our University and the computing community in the North East.”  

Charlotte added: “I know there are a lot of young women who are interested in science and technology but are unsure about pursuing a career - all I can say is that you can do it, and you will most definitely surprise yourself along the way.”