Clark State Community College students Kevin Gardner and Anthony Adams will represent Clark State at the National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Principal Investigators conference in Washington, D.C., October 22-24, 2015.
Adams, from Enon, Ohio, said he’s honored to represent Clark State at the national conference. He learned of the conference while participating as a Clark State summer 2015 cybersecurity intern also funded by the NSF and ATE. “The internship was the single greatest experience of my professional life,” said Adams. “Upon hearing about the conference, I was immediately interested in attending.”
Following a career change in 2014, Adams returned to college in pursuit of a dual degree in Computer Networking and CyberSecurity. “It was one of the best decisions of my life,” he said. Adams said he chose Clark State because of its reputation for providing high-quality education at affordable rates. “I was not aware at the time of my enrollment, but was pleased to soon learn that Clark State has a comprehensive and well-respected program curriculum designed around my newly chosen field.”
Once graduated from Clark State, Adams plans to immediately go to work in the cybersecurity field with the goal of working for an employer who encourages, and may possibly subsidize, further education. “I plan to at least obtain a bachelor’s in the field, and the idea of getting my master’s degree is not beyond consideration,” he said. “I also plan to obtain my Security+ and CISSP certifications as soon as possible.”
Gardner, also pursuing a dual degree in Computer Networking and CyberSecurity from Clark State, resides in Cedarville, Ohio. He said applying for the ATE conference wasn’t too difficult, “I just have to say that we have the right people backing us. Clark State faculty Cathy Balas, Howard Rude and Dan Heighton gave us every opportunity to succeed, and they set us up with great partners that gave us exciting projects.”
Gardner said he is looking forward to seeing what other students are doing and learning around the country. “They will be holding various seminars that can help further my career, tours, and just being able to experience our nation’s capital is more than enough for me,” he said.
As a summer intern, Gardner worked with Riverside Research. “My team and I were able to learn a lot quickly and get our hands on many different aspects of the cybersecurity world,” he said. “We worked on finding vulnerabilities and exploiting them on unmanned aerial systems, supervisory control and data acquisition systems.”
Gardner is currently working in a virtual internship with Indiana University and their super computers. He encourages anyone considering an internship with Clark State to give it a try. “It is an amazing opportunity to work with local companies. If it hadn’t been for the summer internship, I may never have heard about the conference or have been given the chance to attend.”
Cathy Balas, co-principal investigator of the Cyber-Pro Program for Clark State, said Adams and Gardner will be able to share their work with other colleges from around the country at the national conference. “As a result of the Advanced Technological Education Grant from the National Science Foundation, Clark State students are having a broad impact beyond our region on a national and international scale.”
The 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. A principle investigator (PI) is a lead engineer or scientist of a research project.