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Cyber-Internship Students Present Their Case at the Federal Reserve

Six of the students who presented an assessment of cybersecurity threats at The Fed, left to right, Sam Niacastro, Logan Mongelli, Katelyn O’Rorke, Brendan Jones, Allison Bridges, Kristin O’Sullivan. Not shown are Jonathan Eustache, Sierra Smith and James Vital.

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 26, 2016) — The completion of a college course project often concludes with a student team presentation. Rarely does it place the students in front of representatives from the most influential organizations on earth.

However, that is what occurred on May 18 at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in lower Manhattan for five students representing about 40 who took the Interdisciplinary Studies course “Cyber-Internship – The Threat Within.”

There, they presented “Risky Business,” an assessment of insider threats in the modern world of cybersecurity, In the audience were industry IT experts from 29 corporations, “Big 4” accounting firms, major universities and The Fed itself. The corporations included AIG, Boeing, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley.

One of the five presenting students was Kirstin O’Sullivan, a freshman accounting major from Clifton Park. “It was unnerving walking out there,” she admitted. “Here we are, presenting our class project before these major corporations. But it went pretty well. Our mentors had prepared us very well.”

The students’ course mentors, as designed by iQ4, an international platform dedicated to improving the cyber security skills and marketability of the college student workforce, were drawn from many of the same corporations attending the event, through the Cybersecurity Workforce Alliance (CWA).

CWA was launched by Frank Cicio, iQ4 founder and CEO, specifically to help train future college graduates for the present and future industry demands for cybersecurity talent. During the semester, five student teams in “The Threat Within” course worked on different projects, all the while bouncing ideas off the experts. At the end, they chose one project, “Risky Business,” and expanded it for a final presentation at The Fed.

“The cyber-internship was a great learning experience because of the collaboration of the industry mentors who have real world experience,” said Jonathan Eustache, who directed a video that was part of the “Risky Business” presentation. “Their experience as well as their feedback in our research and presentations was a huge help.”

“The internship is open to all majors. There were interns who were majoring in psychology and communications as well as business, who were able to provide an aspect of cyber security that we otherwise would not have seen. And the mentors constantly challenged us to think outside of the box, so that we were not only thinking along the lines of what we already knew.”

After the presentation, the 25 UAlbany undergrads in attendance had an opportunity to individually network not only with their mentors, but with Cicio himself and several other corporate professionals. Each gave advice and some insight into the real world operations. “This was an experience of a lifetime and I believe that it has changed many intern’s opinions about cybersecurity and its value in the workforce,” said Eustache.

So inspired was O’Sullivan that she accepted Cicio’s invitation to become a teaching assistant next semester with the first iQ4 class in Nottingham, England. She’ll work with the various organizations working with IQ4 student there, while attending classes at the University of Nottingham.

The cyber-internship course is part of the University’s applied learning initiative. According to Provost Stellar, who attended The Fed event with course lecturer Ian MacDonald and student assistant Chathura Wickramage, “These experiences complement a fine academic curriculum to put the students’ learning to work and help them develop a strength and maturity that lead to success during and after college.”

For additional information about the Cyber-Internship (UUNI350) course that is coming this fall, contact Dr. Hadi Salavitabar, Executive in Residence, at or (845) 417-1985.

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