Mizzou students this semester had more opportunities to explore networking, programming and cybersecurity-related infrastructure thanks to a new club at Mizzou Engineering. Club President Timothy Kerr strived to make the Cyber Tigers a laid-back group where students learn from one another.
“One of the cool things about the club is that there are members who are not Information Technology majors. There are people who are not even within the College of Engineering who participate when they can,” he said. “I feel as though the club has benefited members as it is a place where likeminded individuals can discuss, explore and learn with each other about all things related to cyber security.”
The club has met regularly over Zoom and has had as many as 50 participants attend. The group also has an active channel on the platform Discord. There, members share tips, news items, job postings and announcements. And last month, the Cyber Tigers hosted an online competition that challenged participants to complete tasks around phishing, concealed files and specific cybersecurity programs.
Ronny Bazan Antequera, an assistant teaching professor in the IT Program and Aaron Scantlin, an adjunct IT instructor and security analyst for MU’s Division of IT, co-sponsor the organization. Earlier this semester, Bazan said he hopes the organization will have the opportunity to compete in regional contests and host guest speakers.
A Natural Fit
For Kerr, becoming president of the organization was a natural fit to round out his IT education. IT is something he’s been preparing for since he was a kid.
Kerr’s father worked in cybersecurity at Mastercard, and he had opportunities to go to work with him.
“Growing up, I was exposed to all sorts of advanced technology and STEM-related field experiences,” he said. “Being able to tinker with electronics as a child and having support in doing so eventually led me to acquiring resources to build my first gaming PC.”
At Mizzou, Kerr said he became more interested in cybersecurity in part because of classes he had with Scantlin.
“He was the one who accelerated my interests in cybersecurity and system administration through creative lectures,” Kerr said.
After graduation, Kerr hopes to serve his country by working for a governmental agency. Ultimately, he hopes to become a chief technology officer.
“I feel like the IT Program has prepared me for my future through the sheer diversity of classes it offers, and the strengths one can obtain by choosing a path within the classes offered,” he said.
Kerr said he recommends the IT Program to anyone interested in technology. “More importantly, I would recommend the field to anyone who doubts themselves or who struggles with engineering degree courses,” he said. “I would encourage students to take their time to enjoy the more creative classes and to think outside the box.”