By Michele Kellerman ’16 Computer Security & Information Assurance Major
Six Computer Security & Information Assurance undergraduate majors in the School of Business & Management recently attended the CyberCorps Scholarship for Service (SFS) 2015 Job Fair in Washington, DC. This annual event provides student recipients of the National Science Foundation’s Scholarship for Service awards the opportunity to meet and network with federal and other government organizations involved in the fields of information assurance and cybersecurity. Below are highlights from my experience attending this important recruiting event for top cybersecurity students.
One of the best experiences a student can have in college is to be able to mix and mingle with professionals in our chosen fields. During the second week of January, I had that opportunity, learning more in that short period about careers and what I might want to do after graduation than I ever thought I could in three days. It started with a job fair for all student recipients of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Scholarship for Service (SFS). I, along with five other Norwich students, met recruiting agents for the top government agencies in the cyber field. Some agencies conducted interviews at the job fair, while others interviewed candidates at their respective agencies in Washington, DC.
My Norwich colleagues and I had a unique experience in Washington, DC. The SFS brought in several wonderful panelists for us to hear during the meals throughout the fair. The second day of the event, we received news that we would be going on a tour that afternoon. We had no idea what to expect.When we arrived at the New Executive Office Building near the White House, Christopher Mellen greeted us. Mellen directs the information risk management branch within the office of the chief information officer for the president. He informed us that he would be taking us on a tour of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next door. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see inside one of the most iconic buildings in American history. As computer security students, meeting our tour guide was the equivalent to a college baseball player meeting Derek Jeter. Mellen embodied our future career goals, and we had the special opportunity to speak with him about his career and experience. His tour was breathtaking, ranging from the history of the building and White House administrations to perspective about our own future careers. It was truly an amazing experience.
If the tour of the Eisenhower building wasn’t enough, we also had the opportunity to sit down for lunch with two CEOs of major companies in our field. Mila Parkour and Andre’ DiMino together run three separate companies that we students have experience with. I have personally read and utilized research written by Ms. Parkour and Mr. DiMino in my studies. Our group was able to join the pair of them for three hours to talk about everything from malware to the exponentially increasing amount of data generated each day and how to store it. It was an incredible opportunity to discuss these topics directly with very knowledgeable sources.
Our entire trip to Washington was filled with such incredible opportunities thanks in large part to Dr. Peter Stephenson. When I was deciding on a college to attend three years ago, I had no idea that such experiences were possible for me as a college student. This trip was one that I am so grateful for and will never forget.
The SFS Job Fair is a major internship and job recruiting event, allowing students like myself to interact and become familiar with over 40 federal agencies and selected guest speakers. SFS is a unique program in which college students at both the undergraduate and graduate level receive scholarships for studies in degree areas specific to information assurance and cybersecurity in exchange for obligated employment in federal, state and local government organizations in those fields.
Further information about CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service (SFS) is available here.