Jackson Hole native receives North Dakota’s first graduate cybersecurity credential

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Jackson Hole native Ben Bernard has recently been awarded North Dakota’s first graduate credential in cybersecurity. Bernard completed his Graduate Certificate in Cybersecurity at the North Dakota State University in the fall of 2018.

Bernard, who is employed in an information technology position at the university, completed courses in ethical hacking, forensics, windows security and cyber-physical system cybersecurity to earn the certificate. The certificate is the first graduate credential issued in North Dakota in the field of cybersecurity.

“When Ben heard about the cybersecurity certificate, he got really excited,” said NDSU assistant professor Jeremy Straub, who leads up NDSU’s cybersecurity curriculum development efforts. “While in the program, Ben has been its leading ambassador. There are people all over the campus and state that know about the certificate program because of Ben.”

As part of earning the certificate, Bernard helped setup a SCADA system simulator, which allows researchers to assess threats to critical infrastructure, such as power plants and water and sewage facilities. He also worked on developing a learning tool for students learning about windows cybersecurity.

Additionally, Bernard has been active in NDSU’s Cybersecurity Student Association, recently giving talks on open source intelligence and social engineering.

“I enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate with other students on really interesting, real world problems. The ability to work with local professionals and hear amazing guest speakers and do conference travel along with participating in the cybersecurity student association provides a new level of energy. It was really fun to work with the talented cybersecurity students. It challenged me to take my skills up a notch,” commented Bernard. “These skills are helping me attain the next level in my job. With each course I had so many new interests and skills to pursue. It was invigorating, challenging and a lot of fun.”

Now that he has completed the Graduate Certificate, Bernard is working on his Master’s in Computer Science at NDSU and plans to pursue his PhD.

North Dakota State University is leading the state’s efforts in cybersecurity through the NDSU Institute for Cyber Security Education and Research.  Research and educational activities are conducted in a new 1,200 square foot dedicated cybersecurity facility within the Quentin Burdick Building on the NDSU campus.


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