Life as an Asian & Pacific Islander (API ) Hacker

May is the month of many things – Cinco De Mayo, Memorial Day – and it is also Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

As a way to acknowledge, celebrate and inspire CARE Lab at Temple University and PlayCyber hosted a panel of hackers who identified themselves as Asian, Pacific Islander (API). The panelists included, Maria Mora (they/them), Angela Saccone (she/her), Avi Zajac (they/he), and Seline Tan-Torres (she/her). Each brought a different flavor of hacking – from pen-testing to compliance, from being veterans of the field to just starting out. Each shared the importance of community, from DefCon to Cyberjutsu, which empowered them to navigate this field and connect with mentors/allies.

Ashish Ranjan, moderated the panel and emphasized the importance of diversity and inclusion with topics around identifying as a API and personal pronouns flavoring the panelists’ hacker journey.

Lessons Learned:

  1. Be Your Authentic Self – there is no need to mold yourself to what the ‘hacker stereotype’ is.
  2. Say Yes to Your Ideas – this panel orignated via a direct message on Twitter and now it has inspired the larger community as a whole.

I highly recommend giving the session a listen, and share your thoughts!


PlayCyber is where Esports meets cybersecurity. One of the major events for this year has been Wicked6 – it was a 24hour of pure virtual fun where the women’s global cyber league came together to play CTFs, network and fundraise. The organization delivers epic cyber games and esports for fans, sponsors and players. So no matter where you are on your gamer, hacker, esport journey do check us out at and actually the applications for Season II of US Cyber Games are open! 

Cybersecurity in Application, Research, and Education (CARE) Lab offers a social science approach to cybersecurity and seeks to foster a multidisciplinary dialog between academia, industry, nonprofits, and government. This intersectionality enables a creative, unique and holistic means of understanding the phenomena of cyberattacks and cybersecurity.


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