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Published: January 13, 2023

Cybersecurity Clubs Round Out the Academic Experience

The University’s cybersecurity major is one of the top 20 most popular undergraduate majors on campus. The curriculum, which also includes a minor and a graduate program, teaches students to protect the confidentiality, availability and integrity of information and information systems that support modern organizations. But not all learning in this field has to take place in the classroom.  

	Cybersecurity Clubs Round Out the Academic ExperienceThe University’s cybersecurity major is one of the top 20 most popular undergraduate majors on campus. Photo by Andrew McDougall '23

For students interested in more real-life experience, there are at least three UT clubs that offer the opportunity. 

Club 1: Cybersecurity  

The Cybersecurity Club utilizes the cybersecurity lab to get hands-on experience, explained Daniel Truong ’23, the club’s president.

In class, Truong said, you learn theory, but there are not currently many opportunities to work with equipment.

“(The club) gives students the chance to understand more because they’re seeing what they’re learning in class,” he said.

One of the things he is proud of is that the club’s executive board focuses on all different areas of cybersecurity. The club teaches students the fundamentals of cybersecurity and offers them a broad idea of what jobs they can have in the field.

“It’s not all hackers like in movies,” Truong said.

The biggest misconception about the club, he added, is that you need to be good with technology.

Meetings are held Fridays at noon on the fifth floor of the Jenkins Technology Building. 

To learn more about the club, visit www.utcybersecurityclub.com.

Club 2: Women in Cybersecurity

Christine Chinapoo ’23 joined the Women in Cybersecurity Club in August last year and served as the club’s secretary. As cybersecurity is a male-dominated field, she said it’s nice to have a community of women to learn and network with.

The club’s goal is to encourage more women to enter the field. Rather than host formal meetings, the club holds events and competes in challenges.

Events, Chinapoo said, allow for greater social networking and the potential that those connections might lead to an internship or job opportunity. The events, which feature a variety of speakers, discuss how to get into the field, provide guidance and describe what it’s like to work in cybersecurity. In November, the club partnered with the Criminology Club and had a speaker from the FBI, who spoke about recruitment.

Chinapoo said she’s made great friends through the club, which is important because the tech field is so diverse. Chinapoo, who is now the president of the club, is aspiring to break into the realm of ethical hacking, where she would identify vulnerabilities before hackers do and help companies fix them.

You can follow the club on Instagram at @womenincyber.utampa.

Club 3: Root @ UT

Root @ UT intends to provide an avenue to pick up technical skills that students might not receive in the classroom, said club president Nevan Beal ’22.

Beal entered UT as a biology/pre-med major. However, in 2019 when he met the person who started Root @ UT, he decided to join, and through networking, he decided to change his major to cybersecurity.

While in the club, Beal competed in online capture the flag competitions searching for vulnerabilities in websites, which allowed him to network with companies including Raymond James. 

The opportunity resulted in an internship and ultimately an offer for full-time employment. Beal graduated in December and began working in the company’s accelerated development program for information technology.

Any students interested in penetrative testing or cybersecurity should consider joining the club, Beal said. It’s a good place to get experience, and companies have been known to recruit from among the club’s ranks. Some of the club’s sponsors include Optiv, Black Point Cyber and Raymond James.

Their meetings are held in the Daly Innovation and Collaboration Building every Friday from 6-8 p.m., minus holidays, Beal said.

You can learn more about the club by emailing admin@root-ut.com.

  

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