By Corrinne Lennox
“How tall are you?” “Do you play basketball?” These are the first questions that some Riderwood residents ask Damon Melville. However, Damon, a host at Overlook Restaurant in Lakeside Commons, says he is much too busy for sports.
A bright and focused student, Damon has been awarded a college scholarship by the Riderwood Selection Committee. He is finishing his degree from Howard County Community College and readying himself for his studies in cybersecurity at the University of Maryland.
Three years ago, a friend had told Damon about the benefits of working here. “I originally saw Riderwood as a kind of refuge, a place where I could earn enough money to finish college.” Now, Damon sees Riderwood as a different kind of refuge, a place where residents engage him in conversation about his aspirations and about their own careers.
“They tell me amazing stories about their lives that make me think about my life and what I could do with it. They’ve helped me trust my own thinking about my goals.”
And those goals eventually exceeded the expectations that others had for him. Damon became deeply interested in computers and discovered that he had the talent of technical innovation. “Growing up, I had no interest at all in computers. Later, I saw that they were a way to interact with my community. We didn’t have a lot of money, so I built my own computer.”
Soon, at the University of Maryland, Damon plans to study reverse engineering. That specialty aims to restore data by analyzing the engineering methods computer malware hackers use to steal computer information. Many Riderwood residents are glad to know that Damon plans to use his talent to improve computer safety and wish him success in his studies.