“It’s really interesting to see all the gaps and holes there are just in general. It’s terrifying,” said Boise State student Brooklyn Mesia. “There’s a lot of room for growth and improvement, but there’s a lot of progress that’s going to be made and I’m excited to be on the front end of that.”
Like a lot of Boise State students, Mesia worked her way through school, and when she graduated in 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, she’d just taken a job as a security engineer at Simplot. Her academic journey hasn’t been a straight line, and it isn’t over. Now, she’s earning a certificate in cyber operations through Boise State that will make her a barrier against attack on the international corporation that employs her.
Cyber vulnerabilities span the divides between the public, private, nonprofit and personal sectors, and have the power to affect every aspect of modern life. “In building its curricula, Boise State recognized the need to enable students with an array of pathways. Students can obtain certificates like the one Mesia’s pursuing and extend their knowledge all the way to a Ph.D program if they’re interested in advanced research.
“This is the thing that I really appreciate about Boise State. It’s taking a very innovative, forward-leaning approach to tackling the challenges of the cybersecurity industry and the cybersecurity needs that we have as a nation,” said Ed Vasko, director of Boise State’s Institute for Pervasive Cybersecurity.
“That whole cyber curriculum really differentiates Boise State in how it approaches the adaptive model to provide the right kind of workforce, the right kind of research and the right kind of capabilities to help the community, to help Boise State, and help the nation.”
These programs coalesced in early 2021, when the Idaho State Board of Education unanimously approved the Cyber Operations and Resilience (CORe) programs for fall of this year. A collaboration between Boise State’s College of Engineering, Extended Studies and the new Institute for Pervasive Cybersecurity, CORe bundled the university’s cyber courses and made them available online.
The range of those courses means there’s a certificate or degree for just about everyone. The certificate programs focus on cyber operations and physical systems security, giving students a professional boost. Undergraduate and postgraduate programs prepare for careers in information and network security, graduating students with the know-how to detect and respond to most cyber attacks; protect themselves and their employers; and fill specialized roles in information, infrastructure and systems management.