By Tessa D'Souza | July 22, 2020
Grant Hollis (‘04) remembers miraculously finishing group projects in the nick of time, spending time on 1st Berg, and discussing questions of theology and faith during his four years at Taylor. Fifteen years later, Lockheed Martin just announced his distinction as a Lockheed Martin Fellow—an elite group of technical experts from a variety of business units at Lockheed Martin, tasked with solving the company’s most challenging problems. In his words, “The systems curriculum was most formative because it taught me how to define what ‘quality’ was and pursue it with excellence from a technical standpoint,” a defining skill set for a Lockheed Martin Fellow.
While his concentration at Taylor was Intelligent Systems (Artificial Intelligence), Grant pursued a cybersecurity career after graduating, because “it was a field that affected everyone’s daily life.” He wanted to solve interesting, practical, and relevant problems—the same problems that students in the recently introduced Computer Science-Cybersecurity major are being prepared to solve. I asked him what advice he would give to Cybersecurity students like myself, and he said, “Don’t be just another programmer…Orient your resume to showcase what you do uniquely well.”
He encouraged Taylor’s CSE students to figure out what makes them stand out among their peers. For some students, it could be performing malware research, for others, the Systems curriculum.
For Grant, the Computer Science and Engineering Department provided a strong technical background for his career at Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Laboratories. He says, “because of my Taylor CSE background, I felt like there wasn’t anything I couldn’t eventually learn, given enough time and resources.” Not only did the CSE program provide the competency and knowledge to become a cybersecurity professional, but also his time at Taylor equipped him with the skills to speak, listen, and pursue excellence.