An up-and-coming cyber student is getting some real-world experience and a boost along the path to his goal of helping to defend America in cyberspace, thanks to an internship as part of an Army Cyber Command (ARCYBER) talent development initiative.
Griffin Egner is studying for his bachelor's degree in cyber operations and a master's in cyber defense at Dakota State University (DSU), and has already been making great strides toward that goal. As a Scholarship for Service recipient, he has agreed to accept federal government employment in exchange for scholarships to assist with his cyber studies, and has completed internships with DSU, Hormel Foods Corp., and with the National Security Agency (NSA) National Centers of Academic Excellence program.
Egner said his goal is to work in a fast-paced and evolving work environment alongside people dedicated to protecting and advancing U.S. cyber capabilities. During his time at NSA he heard many good things about ARCYBER, so when the scholarship coordinator at DSU mentioned the possibility of an internship there he immediately sent his resume and asked how could apply.
During his time with ARCYBER Egner has been training at Fort Gordon, Ga., and taking part in two missions with a Cyber Protection Team (CPT) in the Republic of Korea facilitated by the Army Cyber Protection Brigade (CPB).
In Korea, Egner has worked with top technicians on a variety of cyber tasks and real-world operations, including creating scripts, assessing the security posture of system configurations; identifying vulnerabilities and recommending mitigation strategies; developing analytical techniques; analyzing malware; troubleshooting and implementing VPN connections for remote operations; and studying data science foundations and data visualization, said Johnathan Barnes, Deputy Team Lead for the CPB's 503 CPT.
"Griffin superbly integrated into our team and is working alongside the top cyber operator," Barnes said. He is receiving technical and professional coaching and mentoring. ... If Griffin represents the caliber and character of ARCYBER interns and future hires, the future looks great for the cyber civilian cohort."
For his part, Egner said his time with ARCYBER has been an invaluable experience that has been just what he wanted and more -- an unparalleled opportunity to build his skills alongside top cyber talent in a fluid work environment that has challenged and tested his abilities to adapt and solve problems.
"I am working with teams to solve real-world problems and applying my technical and problem-solving skills to accomplish tasks relating to the mission objectives," Egner said. "I am also extremely lucky that I get to shadow and learn from incredibly smart and experienced professionals. They have taught me so much about their processes and techniques, and I have also picked their brains to learn about what resources/websites they use to keep their skills sharp and stay up to date on the newest threats and technologies."
"The mission set and work that I am exposed to with the ARCYBER internship is work that I would never be able to do in the private sector. Working with urgency and importance for national security is way more valuable to me than working for a company's financial profit. On top of all this, I don't know of many internships that fly you half way across the world with highly specialized groups to learn from and assist. This is a real eye-opening experience that has showed me exactly what a career with ARCYBER really looks like, and it looks awesome!"
As if all this isn't enough, Egner is involved in several extracurricular school activities including the Computer Club, Offensive Security Club and ESports Club, and finds time to tutor other students and work on personal projects and research.
He also makes time to recognize and thank those who have inspired him in reaching his goals. He said is forever grateful to ARCYBER for providing him with an unparalleled opportunity for growth, and to his professors and peers at DSU that "inspire me and push me to never settle and to never stop improving."
Egner's internship became available through ARCYBER's Career Exploration, Advancement and Development (CEAD) program. Program director Andricka Thomas explained that CEAD is designed to establish and deliver a pipeline of new cyber talent to meet ARCYBER's operational demands now and in the future. Focused on current students and recent graduates, Thomas added, CEAD leverages a variety of Department of Defense scholarship programs and direct university engagements to attract candidates to explore career paths within the Army's cyber mission.
"We're focused on preparing for the future and fostering a learning organizational culture where students and new graduates can grow as Army professionals in cyberspace operations," said Ronald Pontius, Deputy to the ARCYBER Commanding General. "It's imperative students are aware of the Army as a career choice. We offer great benefits, retirement, stability of an enduring mission, superior training opportunities, and a unique work experience only available in defense."
To learn more about internship, fellowship and other military and civilian Army Cyber career opportunities, check out the "Careers" link at www.arcyber.army.mil
ABOUT US: United States Army Cyber Command directs and conducts integrated electronic warfare, information and cyberspace operations as authorized, or directed, to ensure freedom of action in and through cyberspace and the information environment, and to deny the same to our adversaries.
Interested in becoming a Army cyber Soldier or civilian employee? Check out the career links at www.arcyber.army.mil