Seven WSU Seniors Accepted to Prestigious Cybersecurity Fellowship
OGDEN, Utah — Seven students from Weber State University’s John B. Goddard School of Business & Economics have been accepted to a cybersecurity summer fellowship at Carnegie Mellon University, filling nearly half of the estimated 20 spots available in the prestigious program.
The fellowship, called the IT Lab: Summer Security Intensive, is a paid, seven-week internship for students interested in pursuing graduate degrees or careers in information security. Randy Boyle, WSU information systems and technology associate professor, calls it a program “for the best of the best.”
This year, WSU is sending more students to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for the program than ever before.
“We really are producing the best students,” Boyle said. “The quantity of WSU students admitted to CMU’s program is proof of that.”
U.S. News & World Report has ranked CMU’s Heinz College No. 1 in information and technology management since 2001, and No. 2 for its information systems graduate programs.
“CMU’s program is widely known to be the most rigorous in the world for cybersecurity and technology in general,” Boyle said. “Every applicant is an ‘A’ student. WSU students stand out because of their professionalism, ambition, friendly demeanor and high level of technical skill.”
Students will work at CMU from June 7 to July 28. They will have the opportunity to study with leading experts in the field while working with a real-world client on a project. They will also be enrolled in three courses focusing on cybersecurity, all of which are paid for by CMU and can be transferred for credit to WSU.
CMU covers all costs for participating students, including airfare, food, housing, classes and a stipend. The most valuable perk, however, may come after the internship is successfully completed. Students who finish the program and are later admitted to a master’s program at CMU’s Heinz College automatically qualify for a scholarship covering at least half of tuition, a $55,000 value.
“If it’s successfully completed, this internship will greatly increase the chances of getting into the graduate programs at CMU,” Boyle said. “This, in turn, will open doors to the best technology companies in the world. CMU graduates can choose which company they work for and get paid very well to do so. Its brand name and rigorous standards attract the best companies looking for future leaders.”
Margaret Redford is one of the seven WSU students accepted to the program, and she’s eager to see the career possibilities the internship may present.
“This will allow more doors to open for me as my career progresses,” Redford said. “There is such a great need in this field; almost anytime you look at the news there is another data breach. I want to be in the middle of it all, protecting companies and individuals.”
As a double major in both accounting and management information systems, Redford is used to working hard and challenging herself. On top of school, she balances a job and serving as an active member of Beta Alpha Psi, the international accounting honor society.
“I know it will be an intense program,” she said. “But the extensive amount of learning and growing excites me.”
For Chace Morrill, a senior in management information systems, the internship is a stepping block to one specific career goal. He wants to secure the Internet of Things, which is the network made up of all smart devices ranging from kitchen appliances to a car.
“These smart devices enrich our lives and provide so much convenience,” Morrill said. “But it may come at the cost of our privacy and security because of the minimal protection they offer against malicious hackers.”
Morrill said it becomes difficult to protect safety and security when so many things are connected through smart devices, something he hopes to learn more about during the fellowship.
“This Summer Security Intensive will give me the opportunity to understand information security to a much greater degree through working with some of the world’s greatest cybersecurity researchers,” he said. “I am looking forward to developing my knowledge and understanding of information security and also learning from the other fellows who share similar aspirations and may have a greater breadth of knowledge than I have.”
All of the WSU students accepted to the program worked hard to secure their spot. Redford searched for opportunities outside of regular class hours throughout the semester to improve her skills. Morrill spent his breaks working on extra projects to make him a competitive candidate. Both also poured time into their application submissions, which included an essay and a video interview.
Their reward was their letter of admission.
“Generating 35 percent of the students admitted to this prestigious internship program at one of the top two management information systems programs in the nation demonstrates the quality of the Goddard School education,” said Jeff Steagall, Goddard School of Business & Economics dean. “It proves that WSU students are well-prepared to compete with students from top-ranked universities from around the country.”
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