Occupation: Cybersecurity researcher. My current title is Program Manager, 5G Operate Through Initiative, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering
Years in the Saint-Vrain valley: 17
What brings you here? What held you back? We returned to Colorado in 2004 to raise our family, moving from DC before our oldest daughter was a year old and before the birth of our second daughter. My wife and I are both originally from Colorado, born and raised in Pueblo and Denver respectively. We met in California and lived in various places across the country before returning to Colorado. Longmont itself has substantial technology, with an emerging Longmont startup ecosystem made up of large and small companies and located near Denver. In addition, Longmont’s foresight in high-speed network connectivity is a tremendous enabling factor.
Why organize a cybersecurity bootcamp for K-12 teachers at the Innovation Center? The SVVSD Innovation Center exemplifies Longmont’s forward thinking and enables cutting-edge work in cybersecurity, as well as artificial intelligence, robotics and other innovative new programs. As part of the bootcamp, we used a variation of an escape room where participants had to use smart information to unlock briefcases, apply book ciphers to decode a secret message, connect a Raspberry PI to a network, use WireShark to observe network packets, and ultimately gain key information to solve a combination of technical and physical challenges. In collaboration with the national organization TeachCyber, we have helped develop a national cybersecurity educational framework for high schools. A number of Colorado high school teachers were instrumental in developing this framework, which is now adopted in school districts in several states in the United States.
Why should high school students start learning about cybersecurity? Each student should have a basic mastery of cybersecurity; cybersecurity is impacting laptops, phones and smart devices, from toasters and fitness trackers, cars, our water and systems, and more. For students interested in a career in cybersecurity, there are huge opportunities and Colorado is a particularly interesting field for cybersecurity professionals. According to CyberSeek.org, Colorado ranks 50th in the country for cybersecurity workforce supply / demand ratio. In other words, Colorado has a large number of job openings and an insufficient number of qualified people to fill the positions.