July 11, 2017

Community College Cyber Summit: Why Every Cybersecurity Student Should Attend

Jessa Gramenz

If you haven’t already heard about the Community College Cyber Summit, also known as 3CS, this year is the perfect time to check it out. The annual conference is in its fourth year. A little background information about the event. The event is geared towards community colleges and students, but the benefits of attending are not limited to the 2-year spectrum.  The event is hosted by the National Cyberwatch Center, a National Science Foundation sponsored resource that collaborates with schools, businesses, and government agencies to strengthen the cybersecurity workforce. The 2017 3CS event is taking place June 28-30 at Prince George’s Community College and National Harbor, Maryland and the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area.

The Community College Cyber Summit was the first conference that I ever attended. My first year attending was after my first semester at John A. Logan College, in 2014. I was lucky to attend a great school that has passionate instructors that encourage students to attend conferences. My instructor and advisor, Mark Rogers, had heard about 3CS and we successfully obtained funding from the college to attend. Since the event was in Chicago, Illinois, we were able to drive from Southern Illinois to the event location. Since it was my first conference, I had no idea what to expect. I was very excited though, and this was my first taste of the cybersecurity-networking world. This event solidified my love for the cybersecurity field. After the sessions and all the connections that I made, I knew that this field was everything I had been looking for and that I chose the right degree program.

Last July I was able to attend 3CS at The Community College of Allegheny County in Pittsburg, PA, and the event exceeded my expectations again. As a volunteer at the event, I was able to experience more of what happens behind the scenes at events. It really is incredible to see all the planning and collaboration unfold into a successful event. One of my personal favorite features of last year’s event was the student session where instructors and educational leaders asked the student panel for their input. The collaboration effort to help meet student needs was very noticeable. I felt that session set 3CS apart from other cybersecurity conferences that I have attended. The sessions also provided useful updates from the cybersecurity trenches and one session in particular really paid off for me. I attended the Cisco presentation given by Justin Valentino, where he shared news about the Cisco Cybersecurity Scholarship.  This summer I will be completing my Cisco Cybersecurity Scholarship to be one of the first groups to earn their CCNA CyberOps Certification. If it wasn’t for the session I attended, I may not have found out about the Cisco Global Initiative to generate more interest and education in Cybersecurity.

If I haven’t made my point about how critical it is for students to attend the 2017 3CS event, feel free to check out the tweets from the event last year by searching #3CS2016. Rereading the quotes and tweets from the previous year makes me wish I could attend the event this year even more than I already do. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions via LinkedIn. Be sure to tweet from the event and share your favorite quotes so I can keep up and share them!