Careers in Cybersecurity

Career Connections: Careers in Cybersecurity

Professional Development Event Reflection,

12 February 2020, Pomerene Hall, 6:00pm-8:00pm

This event consisted of a panel of professionals in the field of cybersecurity here in Columbus who discussed many different facets of their careers in cybersecurity, from certifications and hiring to day-to-day life in the different paths within the field.  I attended with Caitlyn.  Going into this event, I was not very interested in a career in cybersecurity specifically, but as a Security and Intelligence major, I thought it could be useful to gain a greater understanding of a field that is intrinsically related to what I think I want to do in the future.  This event confirmed my anticipation that the computer science and coding aspects of cybersecurity are not for me, but I felt it was still a valuable experience in terms of expanding my knowledge of the careers that are out there.  It was interesting to hear the differences between offensive and defensive cybersecurity and to hear just how rapidly the field of cybersecurity is changing and developing as technology evolves. As someone who wants to potentially work in the intelligence community in the future, I know that understanding the limits and capabilities of cybersecurity will be essential to analyzing international affairs and the way warfare is conducted in the current age, but I am willing to leave the coding to the professionals like those in this panel.

Spring Student Involvement Fair

Spring Student Involvement Fair

Campus Event Reflection

16 January 2020, Ohio Union, 4:00pm-7:00pm

First semester as a freshman at a new school comes with a lot of adjustment.  Especially at a school as large as Ohio State, the vast amount of opportunities can feel overwhelming.  Knowing the importance of getting involved but not wanting to take on too much too fast, I chose a couple of clubs I was interested in dedicating my time to first semester and channeled much of my energy into those.  However, now that it is second semester and I feel I have settled into dorm life and gotten the hang of college classes, I was excited that the school puts on a Spring Student Involvement Fair so that I could expand my involvement on campus into other areas I am interested in.  One aspect I felt was missing in my schedule first semester was community service so I wanted to find a service organization I could dedicate my time to.  Back home in Cincinnati, I worked at a veterinary clinic and I recently lost my dog to cancer, so first semester in Columbus, I found myself really missing the companionship and comfort of a dog.  I was ecstatic to find that their is a club on campus that combines both service and puppies, called 4 Paws for Ability.  I also discovered the Security and Intelligence Club, which I am hoping will be a good way to supplement my major and learn more about the intelligence career field.

IA, PSL, and ACES Late Night Breakfast

IA, PSL, and ACES Late Night Breakfast

Social Event Reflection

4 December 2019, Smith-Steeb Hall, 9:00pm-10:30pm

The Wednesday of my first finals week at Ohio State, the leaders of the International Affairs Scholars Program, Politics, Society, and Law Scholars Program, and Advocates for Communities and Education Scholars program put on a late-night breakfast and social gathering for the members of the three programs.  I attended the event with Caitlyn, one of my best friends from IA, but I was also excited to talk to people I had not met before.  Not only did the event provide me with a much-needed study break and plenty of pancakes to power me through the rest of my exams, it ended up being a wonderful opportunity for me to get to know some of the students who live in my building and make up the Scholars community at Ohio State.  This was the first social event I had attended with the Politics, Society, and Law Scholars as well as the Advocates for Communities and Education Scholars so I did not know many of them before the breakfast.  It was intriguing to hear and discuss how the interests of each of the three scholars groups overlap, yet each student brought a slightly different perspective to the table.  The event was representative of the great value of being a scholar at Ohio State and the opportunity for meaningful connections that comes with it.

FBI Surveillance Specialists Information Session

FBI Surveillance Specialists Information Session

Professional Development Event Reflection

29 October 2019, Independence Hall, 10:30am-12:30pm

This event included a formal presentation from an employee of the FBI about what it means to be a Surveillance Specialist within the FBI.  Even though the event was aimed more towards upperclassmen and students who will be graduating soon and are actively seeking permanent jobs, I decided to attend in order to get a feel for a career path I may wish to consider.  Unfortunately, because of my class schedule, I wasn’t able to attend the entire session and missed a great deal of the description of the day to day life and work of an FBI Surveillance Specialist.  The speaker’s main focus during the time I was able to attend was geared towards the application process and job requirements.  Although it wasn’t what I was hoping to learn about, I still think it is valuable to start thinking about these types of logistical details of the job search process, even as a freshman.  For example, the required background check often takes six to eight months to clear so you must apply far in advance and be very on top of the application process.  The speaker also gave the advice that while there is no specific way to prepare, as much of the training is done on the job, taking behavioral analysis classes as part of your undergraduate studies can help you with this job.  The information session got me interested in looking at what kinds of intelligence careers might deal with behavioral analysis, which is an interest of mine.

CRIS Mural Project

CRIS Mural Project

Service Event Reflection

27 October 2019, 1pm-4pm, Westerville, OH

I attended this service project with Caitlyn.  It was a project organized by CRIS, Community Refugee and Immigration Services, at an elementary school in Westerville, which is about a 30 minute drive from campus.  The project was to finish three murals that the students had started painting on a wall in the school.  One of the murals was a design containing a quote from Gandhi and the other two were trees, for which the students had made laminated leaves with encouraging notes that students could pick from when they need one.  I spent most of my time cutting out the laminated leaves so I got to read many of the notes and sayings written by the students.  I thought it was cool how many of them wrote in a variety different languages, trying to be inclusive of their classmates who came from different backgrounds.  The art teacher at the school told us that school has a lot of students from immigrant families and that the transition can be very hard for those students, especially when they may not speak English very well, which makes projects like this one so important.  One quote a student wrote that I particularly liked was “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”

Sahar Speaks: Voices of Women from Afghanistan

Sahar Speaks: Voices of Women from Afghanistan

Professional Development Event Reflection

7 October 2019, 4pm, Wexner Center For the Arts

I attended this event with Caitlyn.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I ended up really enjoying the theatrical performance of Parwana: They Bear All the Pain.  It featured just two actresses, an empty stage, and no props except for a book, yet was able to deliver a powerful message.  Inspired by an article by a female Afghan journalist mentored by the Sahar Speaks program, the performance illuminates the  violence experienced by children in everyday life on the streets in Afghanistan. The Sahar Speaks program was created to draw attention to the female voices in Afghanistan by recruiting and training Afghan female journalists.  Likewise, Zari and Parwana, the two sisters in the performance, command attention and claim the right to tell their own stories.

I thought it was interesting how they performance manages to show the harsh reality of life for women and children in Afghanistan, yet featured characters who resist the the narrative of victimhood assigned to them by outside voices and assert the right to speak for themselves.  I was reminded of the novel A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, which centers around two Afghan women who likewise must search for ways to assert their own stories when their voices are threatened.

Young Women in Nonproliferation Initiative Info Session

Young Women in Nonproliferation Initiative Information Session

Non-IA Campus Event Reflection

4 October 2019, 11am-1pm, Page Hall

This event was hosted by Dr. Amy Sands, who discussed her impressive career as an intelligence analyst and expert in nonproliferation and disarmament.  As a first-year Security and Intelligence major, I valued the opportunity to hear about her diverse experiences in the field and get a sense of the different career paths within the intelligence community.  Especially interesting was Dr. Sands description of often being the only woman in the room in discussions about nonproliferation and the “thoughtful risks” she had to take in order to end up there.  I learned that women make up only a small minority of professionals in the field of WMD proliferation, which is problematic for several reasons.  This gender discrepancy was the driving factor behind the foundation of the Young Women in Nonproliferation Initiative, which aims to encourage female students to consider careers in arms control.

Dr. Sands gave several pieces of advice for those considering such a career, emphasizing flexibility of perspective, openness to networking early on, and calculated risk-taking.  She spoke on the real need for women to be involved in the analysis of WMD threats, as more diverse views and perspectives lead to better teamwork and better analyses.  Ultimately, this event opened my eyes to the importance of and opportunities for a career in nonproliferation and arms control.

Skype Info Session

Skype Information Session with Alumna Lauren Bradley

Non-IA Campus Event Reflection

12 September 2019, 11am-12pm, Denney Hall

I decided to attend this event when I received an email about an opportunity to Skype with an Ohio State graduate who works for the U.S. Department of State.  It caught my eye because this alumna received her degree from in International Studies, which is my current major, and because she works abroad as a Foreign Service Office Manager.  As someone who has considered the idea of working in an Embassy, I was interested to hear from someone who has experienced this first-hand.

Lauren currently works in Lilongwe, Malawi, but she has worked in a very diverse collection of countries from Barbados to Poland to Tanzania.  She described not only her own job, but also the eight major categories of specialist jobs in an embassy, which was very informative.  The most intriguing thing to me about life in an embassy was how one can never really know what the day will look like because new and unexpected situations often arise.  An ability to adapt and find creative solutions is crucial.  This appeals to me because it means this is a job that both keeps things interesting and fits what I consider to be some of my strengths.  However, Lauren also discussed some of the difficulties and complications that come with a job in which you have to move every few years and  sometimes to posts that lack the amenities we take for granted here in the United States.  Overall, this event offered valuable insight into a career I may choose to pursue in the future.

International Internships Panel

Navigating Job Fairs & Landing an International Internship- A Panel

Professional Development Event Reflection

9 September 2019, 7pm-8pm, Smith-Steeb Hall

I attended this event with several friends who live on my floor.  The panel was made up of four current students who have done international internships- one in Portugal, one in France, one in Canada, and one for the Office of Central European Affairs within the State Department in Washington D.C.  It was interesting to see the variance in their different internships across different disciplines.  While the main focus of their tasks were not necessarily in international affairs, each felt that simply being abroad added immensely to the experience.

The panel discussed several logistical aspects of their internships, including how they funded their internship, found housing and food, and how they made connections that landed them their internship.  As a new student, still trying to figure out how to navigate the wide range of opportunities here at Ohio State, it was useful to hear about some of the offices and routes I can go through when I want to pursue my own international internship.  It also helped me to realize the importance of networking, because you never know what a connection may lead to down the road.

Overall, it was interesting to hear about both the logistics of doing an international internship, as well as the personal growth each member of the panel described as a result of working in a different country.  The panel sparked a greater desire to pursue my own international internship at some point in my time here at Ohio State.