Current and Future Cybersecurity Professionals Converge at Second Annual Cyber Summit

2019 CPS Cyber Summit panelists talking
April 13, 2019

Seeking a better understanding of the myriad issues affecting the field of cybersecurity, nearly 100 students, faculty, administrators, and industry leaders joined together for the second annual Cyber Summit at St. John’s University’s Queens, NY, campus. 

Cohosted by the College of Professional Studies (CPS) and the student-led Cyber Security Club, the March 28 event focused on the future of cybersecurity and how students should prepare for success in this dynamic industry. 

“St. John's cybersecurity programs are led by seasoned industry professionals who work with students to prepare them for jobs in the cybersecurity field,” said Suzanna Schmeelk, Ed.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science, Mathematics, and Science. “Many have close ties with international field experts, and offer students access to security-related events at the local, national, and international levels.”

Throughout the event, panelists offered career advice and responded to inquiries about the latest trends in cybersecurity. Addressing the growing need for professionals in the field, CPS offers a bachelor’s degee in Cyber Security Systems, and in October 2018, formally dedicated the Sanford Family Cyber Security Lab

“Do not pigeonhole yourself into one niche area of cybersecurity early in your career,” said Steven Santamorena, Chief Information Security Officer, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. “Get a taste of everything before you settle down.”

Many of the featured panelists did not begin their careers in cybersecurity, due to the fact that the field did not exist on the level it does today. However, the rapid evolution and penetration of technology was followed by an equally swift rise of cyber threats.

For example, panelist Susan Goold, an independent contractor, studied to be an English teacher; however, she currently works as a cybersecurity training consultant. 

According to Brian Wesolowski, Vice President of External Affairs at the Center for Democracy & Technology, future cybersecurity professionals need to understand how their work affects the broader society. He stressed the importance of helping service organizations that may need expertise in the realm of cybersecurity. 

Asked about the major cyber threats faced by organizations today, Michael Masters ’12CPS, a Software Engineer at UBS Group AG, and current Cyber Operations Officer in the US Army, explained that every organization, whether it be public or private, faces its own array of threats.  “It comes down to knowing your environment,” he said. “However, even with an in-depth knowledge of your environment, there is no silver bullet in cybersecurity.” 

David X Martin, Chief Executive Officer of David X Martin, LLC, described cyber threats as “an unknown unknown.” He explained, “Many cyber threats are unforeseeable and pose a potentially greater risk simply because they cannot be anticipated.” 

“Cybersecurity is a field where you never stop learning,” said Derick Naraine, President of the Cyber Security Club. “The Cyber Summit was a great way for students to take their first steps in discovering themselves in the cybersecurity space.”