Computer Information Science 2022
Current Position: Cybersecurity Consultant, Ernst & Young
Everything needs cybersecurity because everything is digital.
Jennifer graduated from community college with an associate’s degree in liberal arts and a few years later, she decided to go back to school for a bachelor’s degree. She considered majoring in Accounting or Biology before landing on the perfect program for her: GMercyU’s Computer Information Science program with a concentration in Cybersecurity.
“Cybersecurity is like trying to solve a puzzle. I find it so interesting, and it blends my interest of computer science with criminal justice,” said Jennifer, who accepted a job offer after graduation and now works as a Cybersecurity Consultant for Ernst & Young.
Long term, she hopes to eventually work in law enforcement, either federally or locally, using her skills in digital forensics.
Jennifer shared her story below.
What Computer Information Science class have you enjoyed the most?
Definitely my Computer Forensics class with Professor Cindy Casey. She had us work with FTK digital forensic tools, where we learned the amount of data you can get from them, whether for a business or as law enforcement. I knew then that was exactly what I wanted to do.
Did you present at this year’s University Research Conference?
I was supposed to present, but I got Covid, so unfortunately I could only contribute a poster. My project was called “Memory-Resident Malware”, and it gave an introduction on malware, which is the malicious code that writes itself to a system’s memory.
I don’t think people realize how much you need cybersecurity, it’s an ever-expanding field. Machines produce our food, our water, our electric grid. You don’t even think about it, but for example, shopping on Amazon means your banking information is online. Everything needs cybersecurity because everything is digital.
Black Rocket, which creates STEAM lessons for kids, hired you to teach a summer camp last year and you later wrote a lesson for them called Cyber Spies. How did that come about?
I was looking for a summer job with relevancy to my major, not just a normal office job, so I applied. Taking a job like this was important to me, that the girls in the class would see me and think, if she’s doing this maybe it’s possible for me. It also helps reduce the stigmas for boys, seeing women as experts in STEM fields.
As for my Cyber Spies lesson, I thought it would be interesting to have a digital forensics camp class, so I reached out to the VP of Black Rocket and pitched the idea. She liked it, and then I pitched it to the other owner. As I wrote the lesson, they gave me a lot of freedom, but we had weekly check-ins. It was a months-long process. I met with their IT team and head of course creation to make sure what I was planning was feasible, technology-wise. I wrote the lesson and the instructor materials. The goal was to make to the best possible course for the kids.
What did you love about GMercyU’s CIS Program?
Cindy Casey was my advisor and the first time we met, we talked for like, 45 minutes. I knew right then I made the right decision. During my job search, she was helpful with connections and interview tips — just offering the right steps to help me get where I wanted to be.
As a smaller program, I really enjoyed the social circle of the CIS program.
And, all of the CIS professors know your name and want you to learn. In this program, you get the individual help you need when you need it. They’re always more than happy to help you as long as you’re trying.
CIS has this whole stigma that only the geniuses can do it, but if you work hard and if you can think critically, you can do it.