Published: May 3, 2021

After beginning college with an interest in studying data science, senior Clark Mousaw found that there was so much more to explore. 

Originally from Long Beach, California, Mousaw’s time in Boulder has allowed him to learn more about the human side of data, which relates to everything from design to politics. Soon, he’ll dive even deeper into the interdisciplinary field of Information Science by continuing his studies through CMCI’s master’s program in the fall.

During his undergraduate career, Mousaw earned a major in Information Science and a minor in Space. He did so with the distinction of being the Department of Information Science’s William W. White Outstanding Senior––an award given to students in each department based on a combination of academic merit, professional achievement and service to the college.

We caught up with Mousaw to find out what surprised him about his major in Information Science, the project he’s most proud of as a senior and his plans for the future.

Based on what you know now, what is your best piece of advice for other students? 
Life’s full of strikes and gutters, ups and downs. Try to just take it easy and not stress about things that are out of your control.

​ What led you to choose your major? Is there anything you learned throughout the major that surprised you or that you didn’t expect?
I initially chose to major in Information Science because I was interested in data science, but this major just has so much more breadth than that. It’s true that much of Information Science involves learning about data analysis and computational tools, but there are also fundamentally human elements of this major that make it more of an interdisciplinary science such as design, social science, politics and ethics.

Was there a project you worked on or a real-world experience that you gained as a student that you’re especially proud of or that taught you a lot?
My honors thesis without a doubt. The entire process was challenging but I’m thankful to have had that opportunity. Making contributions to a field of study I’m passionate about was a really rewarding experience.

 You mentioned that you're really proud of your honor's thesis. What is it about?
I’m interested in cybersecurity, so I tried to contribute to the field of industrial control system security by using the skills I’ve learned at CU. My research was focused on the discoverability of industrial control system honeypots. A mouthful, I know… I basically deployed a set of ICS honeypots with varying configurations to see what makes them discoverable.

 A huge part of college is finding a community of people to support you, work with you, mentor you and encourage you. Who was in your herd during college and how did they shape your experience?
The professors and grad students in the Info Science department are some of the most dedicated and supportive people I’ve ever met. I think my overall experience would have been very different if not for their mentorship. Big thanks to all the Info Science professors and grad students.

 Ten years from now, if you could create your perfect career, what would it look like?  
I think it would be really interesting to apply data science principles and practices to investigate issues related to information security.

 No pressure to have this figured out yet, but do you have any post-graduation plans at the moment?
I’ll be pursuing an MS in Information Science at CMCI starting in the fall. Grad school wasn’t initially part of my plans post-graduation but I’ve really enjoyed my time learning from the Info Science professors and grad students.