Southeast Cybersecurity Student Interns with Homeland Security, Invited to White House

Surmeier croppedCAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Oct. 24, 2014 – Joe Surmeier, a Southeast Missouri State University senior cybersecurity major from Kansas City, Missouri, has been invited to attend a recognition dinner and round table with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 29.

Surmeier was a part of the Cyber Student Volunteer Initiative Secretary’s Honor Program as a student intern this past summer. During this time, Surmeier worked in the Intelligence and Analysis office of DHS assisting with cybersecurity.

“Being invited to this dinner means a lot to me, more than words can express,” said Surmeier. “I appreciate DHS doing something special for some of their interns, who worked diligently as volunteers over the summer.”

Surmeier is a senior at Southeast and plans to graduate in December 2015.

Dr. Vijay Anand, director of the cybersecurity program and assistant professor of industrial and engineering technology at Southeast, explains how cybersecurity students, like Surmeier, are able to receive professional experience in the industry.

“Students from our program have been hired as interns and into full-time positions in industries that would typically hire students from Tier 1 Research universities, which reflects admirably on the quality of our program,” Anand said.

Southeast launched its cybersecurity program in fall 2011 to address America’s growing demand for professionals to protect computers and computer networks from assault. The program is housed in Southeast’s Department of Polytechnic Studies in the College of Science, Technology and Agriculture. The program has a comprehensive focus integrating topics of security in hardware, software and networking while working on the lines of industrial processes to comply with legal and industrial regulations within an ethical framework. The program also is preparing graduates to meet workforce needs in government, business and industrial sectors.

“The cyber security program is a comprehensive, hands-on program that highlights current security and privacy issues covering, but not limited to, aspects related to operations, maintenance and provisioning of the cyber infrastructure with respective solutions that can be measured and validated, said Anand.

“The program produces engineers that can function effectively in a professional setting with minimal support and guidance,” he said.

The program began with 15 students enrolled in fall 2011 and was the first program in Missouri to offer its graduates a Bachelor of Science in cybersecurity. Today, about 100 students are participating in the program.