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Cybersecurity institute hosts week of speakers

Regional cybersecurity leaders participated in the NDSU Institute for Cybersecurity Education and Research’s speaker series Nov. 13-18. Speaker presentations throughout the week highlighted National Cybersecurity Career Awareness Week.

“The presentations really provided insight on how the skills students are learning in classroom – and through extracurricular activities – are used in the real world,” said Jeremy Straub, institute associate director and computer science assistant professor, who organized the speaker series. “We are so very pleased to have had each of the speakers present their different perspectives and help students understand where opportunities in the field can be found and how to prepare to take advantage of them.”

Kendall Nygard, professor of computer science at and institute director, kicked off the series on Monday with a discussion of academic careers and educational opportunities. NDSU’s chief information security officer Enrique Garcia talked on Tuesday about careers in information technology and how to prepare for them.

Tim Jensen, senior penetration tester with AppSec Consulting, on Wednesday discussed careers in security consulting. He gave students a firsthand perspective on working in an area that is constantly changing to find and respond to security vulnerabilities. On Thursday, Jerry Wynne, vice president of security and chief information security officer at the Noridian Mutual Insurance Co., provided a management perspective, discussed responding to incidents like the Fargo flood and explained how to get jobs in the field.

Marine Corps Maj. Terry Traylor, who has worked in electronic warfare, finished the series on Friday with a presentation about U.S. military and intelligence agency careers in cyber intelligence and security.

“I learned that cybersecurity is the coolest field that there is,” said NDSU computer engineering junior Isaac Burton. Burton and computer science junior Kelvin Boatey lead the NDSU Cybersecurity Student Association and introduced each speaker. “It’s in really high demand and there is a lot of stuff that needs to be done. There are also a lot more bad guys than good guys, so we need more good guys.”

Most of the presentations were recorded and are available for viewing online.

The NDSU Institute for Cybersecurity Education and Research is leading North Dakota’s academic pursuits in the dynamic field of cybersecurity. Headquartered in NDSU’s Department of Computer Science, the institute has 11 faculty members from computer science, emergency management and electrical and computer engineering, as well as the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute. It aims to meet the public need for leading-edge cyber security software development and information technology practices. It serves the information technology and computing professionals, practitioners and endpoint users who operate the public and private enterprises of the state.

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