ANDERSON – As she entered Anderson University three years ago, Jayden Brown knew she wanted to help people and started on what she anticipated would be a degree in nursing.
But like many students, the Pendleton resident came to realize that her initial major was not her true calling.
“I always liked to build things, to get into tech, so I decided to go into cybersecurity,” she said. “I still have an interest in the medical field, so when I graduate, I want to work in cybersecurity for a hospital.”
In an effort to help Brown and other students reach their career goals, Anderson University on Tuesday opened its new Center for Security Studies & Cyber Defense in Decker Hall.
Made possible through a $ 1 million grant from Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment and a $ 250,000 grant from Upland-based Avis Foundation, the center is one of many across campus. Each helps students in their dedicated fields make the professional contacts and gain the work experience necessary to reach their career goals.
Cybersecurity and cyber defense are special interests of AU President John S. Pistole, an AU grad and former deputy director of the FBI.
The center includes six double-screen work stations and six monitors on the wall that can display cyberthreats around the globe in real time. Those monitors can be broken up into as many as 64 unique images.
“They can take their monitors and what they’re seeing and cast it up on the wall,” said the center’s executive director, David Dungan.
In addition to creating opportunities for students, he said, the center will allow local and regional businesses to tap into cost-effective cybersecurity services. Those include analyzes of the businesses’ cybersecurity footprints and their risks and threats.
Among the services that can be provided are network and cloud security, digital forensics and ethical hacking.
Center Director Garrett Henderson, an AU graduate, said he anticipates the reduced-cost services will be offered primarily to church and not-for-profit organizations.
“I would like to concentrate on underserved communities,” he said.
Though the center is just starting to market its services, students and faculty aren’t waiting on outside clients to get started, Henderson said.
“We’re doing it already for the university, which has its own unique needs and is helping us prepare the equipment and processes for future clients,” he said.
The privacy of clients is assured through non-disclosure agreements signed by students and a secure workplace where the window overlooking a hallway can either be clear or made electronically opaque to obscure what is happening inside from passersby.
Follow Rebecca R. Bibbs on Twitter at @RebeccaB_THB, or call 765-640-4883.