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Meet Quentin Samuels, Cyber Operations and Resilience Adjunct Faculty

Quentin Samuels’ dedication to cybersecurity is evident in his passion for the field and his eagerness to ignite similar enthusiasm in others. Samuels gained valuable skills in his extensive experience working with military defense systems, both legacy and new. This exposure honed his expertise in risk management, systems protection and collaboration with diverse teams. He possesses a natural curiosity for cybersecurity, extending beyond the digital world, and leverages his network to stay ahead of the ever-evolving cybersecurity landscape.

Samuels’ commitment to staying informed, his hands-on experience and his deep desire to share knowledge make him a valuable asset in the academic field. His commitment to constant learning and real-world application ensures students are well-equipped to navigate cybersecurity’s complex and dynamic landscape. Samuels is an experienced cybersecurity adjunct faculty member with over four years of real-world experience. He is recognized as a thought leader and has a strong presence on LinkedIn, where he regularly shares his insights and knowledge with the cyber community. His experience and desire to share knowledge enable him to help develop the future of the cybersecurity workforce through the cyber operations and resilience program.

Career Journey

Samuels’ military background significantly influenced his career choices. He joined the military at 18 and served six and a half years. During this time, he developed a passion for the defense sector and decided to pursue a career there. His first job after leaving the military was with Collins Aerospace, a business within Raytheon Technologies. Utilizing his security clearance and engineering skillset, he worked as a systems security engineer.

As a systems security engineer, Samuels analyzed government systems and understood how best to protect and secure them. This required a deep understanding of the systems and the ability to identify potential vulnerabilities and threats. Samuels also worked as a systems security engineer and anti-tamper specialist at Lockheed Martin. He was responsible for protecting the secrets of the latest technology and ensuring that threat actors could not access confidential information.

Samuels started his education in electrical engineering and cybersecurity at Georgia Tech. He believes having a solid foundation in these fields helped him excel in his career goals. “The key to success in cybersecurity is the ability to solve problems effectively.” Employers look for this in their employees, and Samuels has proven to be an expert in this area.

Samuels’ broke into cybersecurity in 2019, pursuing a master of science in cybersecurity from Georgia Tech. His work experience and degree helped launch his cyber career.

Samuels’ first job in the cybersecurity industry was with the Georgia Tech Research Institute, which had a non-profit attachment with military contracts. This experience gave him a deep understanding of the military defense sector and the importance of the risk management framework (RMF). RMF is crucial in understanding and securing government systems and was Samuels’ first role in cybersecurity. He utilized blue team tactics for securing and defending various systems from threat actors.

After gaining experience in the military defense sector, Samuels moved on to his second opportunity with Palo Alto Networks. He joined their 12-month academy program, where he worked as a systems sales engineer. This role allowed him to learn about the company’s products and services and how they cater to various sectors, including enterprises and the defense sector. Samuels’ team at Palo Alto Networks provided various security solutions to Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies.

Samuels’ diverse background in both the military and the cybersecurity industry has given him a unique perspective on the field. He dislikes limiting himself to one thing and has a passion for learning and gaining knowledge. “Having a broad understanding of the world and looking at things from different perspectives is crucial for success in any field.”

Teaching Journey

Samuels, a current adjunct faculty member in the Boise State cyber operations and resilience program, teaches CORe 200, focusing on operating systems and cloud operations. Samuels’ experience as a student and teacher assistant at Georgia Tech provides valuable insights into effective curriculum design, emphasizing the importance of close interaction with students. He encourages “detailed discussions, analyzes the quality of questions and responses, and utilizes final projects to assess [each] student’s ability to secure systems. He integrates ethical considerations and the social impact of cybersecurity throughout his curriculum, highlighting the real-world consequences of cyberattacks on individuals and industries.”

Samuels has some valuable tips for those pursuing online learning. “The possibilities are limitless when it comes to online learning, and one should never limit themselves to one resource,” he said. With everything available at our fingertips, there is no limit to how much one can learn. Samuels encourages students to explore different resources and gain knowledge from various perspectives.

Samuels praises Boise State University’s cyber operations and resilience curriculum for its real-world relevance. Many faculty members, including Samuels, have real-world experience working with various organizations in the cyber field. He emphasizes the need to continuously update skill sets and integrate practical knowledge like forensics and securing various systems. He stresses the importance of understanding attacker mindsets to combat cyber threats effectively.

Long-Term Goals and Aspirations

Samuels aspires to develop independent courses in areas like blockchain security and cloud computing. He envisions filling educational gaps in emerging technologies, establishing a mentorship program for aspiring cybersecurity professionals and forming a non-profit organization to provide internship opportunities. While considering long-term options like pursuing a PhD in cybersecurity, his heart lies in teaching. He finds immense satisfaction in fostering the next generation of cybersecurity professionals by sharing his knowledge and expertise.

Samuels’ journey in cybersecurity is a testament to his determination, passion and hard work. From the military and developing his cyber skills through new changes to becoming a thought leader and well-respected adjunct faculty member, Samuels has proven that anything is possible with the right mindset and dedication. His diverse background and love for learning have made him a valuable asset as a defender of the digital realm and as an educator in the cyber operations and resilience program.

Written by Zamzam Nour.