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Clark State Leads in Cybersecurity with National Conference Selectees, Grants

Clark State Leads in Cybersecurity with National Conference Selectees, Grants

October 12, 2016

Clark State Community College students James Foster II and Navneel Dutt will represent Clark State at the National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Principal Investigators conference in Washington, D.C., October 26-28.

Clark State has attended the National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Principal Investigators annual conference since 2008.  The College was first involved through a Mentor Link grant designed to help community colleges which had not previously received an NSF grant. Since that time Clark State has obtained three NSF grants: two in cybersecurity and one in precision agriculture. Clark State has had students selected to attend every year since 2011.

"The conference is an outstanding professional development experience. Over 800 people attend, and there is an opportunity to meet faculty from around the country who are leading experts in teaching science, technology, engineering and math at community colleges, said Cathy Balas, co-principal investigator of the cybersecurity grant. “Clark State has gained many valuable contacts and ideas at the conference and is able to bring best practices and new programs back to the college for our students."

James Foster II, from West Jefferson, Ohio, is a recent graduate of Clark State with an associate degree in Cybersecurity. He is now working on transfer credits to continue his education at Franklin University in the field of information security. Foster is also working as lab specialist for Clark State under Professor Dan Heighton and Associate Professor Greg Teets.

“I learned about the conference from Dan, because I had participated in the Clark State internship this past summer that is funded by the ATE-NSF,” said Foster. “I am looking forward to talking to others in the same field while also learning about other projects.”

Navneel Dutt hails from Nadi, Fiji; he is in his second year of study at Clark State and is double majoring in Computer Networking and Cybersecurity. He chose Clark State for his education, “Because Clark State has an excellent IT program.” 

“I am currently an intern at Advanced Service Technologies, and I will be starting another internship this month at Unmanned Science, Inc.,” said Dutt. “I hope to learn more about the issues related to the technological education and help try to make a change and provide as much assistance as I am capable of.”

Recent Clark State graduate Jeremiah White and former Clark State professor Jerome Murray will be featured panelists at the ATE Principal Investigators conference, speaking to an audience of more than 800 about their employment at Wright Patterson Air Force Base and how Clark State prepares cybersecurity students for work there.

Jeremiah White serves as an IT specialist at National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC). He recently graduated from Clark State with an associate of science degree in Cybersecurity/Information Assurance and an associate of applied business degree in Computer Networking. He is looking forward to discussing how students can better transition into their career field and identifying challenges like gaining field experience.

“When an employer is looking for a graduate with some years of experience, that challenge can be hard to overcome for people trying to get into entry-level positions,” he said. White recommends internships for experience and encourages employers to work closely with colleges to develop internship programs. “As a recent grad, I’m looking forward to seeing other student perspectives and to see if we can help improve the process into the career field.”

Mathematician and radar analyst Jerome Murray is a former Clark State professor. He holds a master’s degree in mathematics from Indiana University and taught full-time at Clark State from 2006-2014. He said he is looking forward to the opportunity to network with other employers and also to share his experience as a participant in an internship program. “We will share our stories as to what worked for us and how we can improve a student’s involvement in an internship program,” he said.

The annual conference brings together more than 800 participants working on ATE projects across the country in community colleges, secondary school systems, four-year colleges and research and development centers. This includes students and principle investigators in information technology, engineering technology, micro- and nanotechnologies, chemical technology and biotechnology.

Clark State will also receive a portion of a grant obtained by the Cyber Alliance Partners of the greater Cincinnati-Dayton region. The grant, funded by the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology, will be used to address the nation’s shortage of skilled cybersecurity employees.

“Clark State has had a well-established Cybersecurity program, but this grant provides for increased collaboration across our region and creates a ‘hub’ of cyber training in southwest Ohio,” said Dr. Jo Alice Blondin, president of Clark State.

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