Cybersecurity Lecture Asks Big Questions

By Hannah Stumpf | February 16, 2018

Ported from an Echo article by Hannah Stumpf

On Feb. 2, Taylor University welcomed Grant Hollis (‘04), lead research scientist with Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Laboratories (LM ATL), to speak on current events in cybersecurity and to raise awareness for Taylor’s new major.

Hollis worked part-time as a system administrator for Taylor’s computer science department. This job offered first-hand insight as to how security impacted the students, the faculty and the university. When Hollis graduated, he continued on as a software developer for Lockheed Martin. Hollis currently designs and writes code on software projects in the area of cybersecurity for Lockheed Martin.

The new cybersecurity major at Taylor offers a unique opportunity for students.

“Not all computer science graduates have the interest and knowledge to analyze, understand, and react to cyberattacks,” Hollis said.

The cybersecurity major is designed to meet learning objectives set by the Association for Computing Machinery and the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education. The program also focused on hands-on learning, including Lockheed Martin commissioned research, during the fall of 2016.

Senior computer science and systems major Luke Josten will not be able to graduate with a full cybersecurity degree, but understands the importance of its presence on campus.

“For me, it means that there there will be more opportunities for students that had similar interests as me going into college to really dive deep into the security world,” Josten said. “There are not many Christian liberal arts schools (or even schools in general) that have a solid cybersecurity major, and I believe this opens a big door for Taylor.”

Taylor’s hosting of the lecture brought attention to the Democratic National Convention (DNC) hacking - an event during the 2016 elections that had many Americans questioning the safety of the internet.

For some, connecting cybersecurity to an integration of faith and learning could be a challenge.

“As Christians, we have the responsibility to seek what is right and be good stewards of what we are given’” “said senior computer science and systems major Joel Vastbinder. “Cybersecurity is all about doing both of those. There are a lot of moral decisions to be taken into consideration when dealing with the topic of cybersecurity. Without Christianity as a moral compass, it becomes much more difficult to deal with such problems.”