Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Student Program at the 2023 NSF Cybersecurity Summit

In October, we hosted our annual NSF Cybersecurity Summit, which was a hybrid event hosted at Berkeley Lab. Our student program welcomed nine students to attend the in-person training sessions, present posters, network with fellow attendees, and introduce themselves to our community. We also matched students with mentors to help facilitate networking opportunities.

We give special thanks to our mentors: Ishan Abhinit, Jim Basney, Phuong Cao, Eric Cross, Wei Feinstein, Mark Krenz, Jim Marsteller, Sean Peisert, Kelli Shute, and Susan Sons.

We asked the students to share their thoughts on their experiences at the Summit. Below are their responses. These statements have been lightly edited for clarity.

Chad Callegari, University of South Alabama:
My experience at the 2023 Trusted CI Cybersecurity Summit completely exceeded my expectations in the best ways possible. I had never before attended a conference before this event, and as a student it was initially intimidating to be in a new environment with professionals from the field. I quickly learned just how inviting everyone at the event was, and everyone quickly made the environment one that I could feel comfortable in. I was able to learn so many new things from the trainings that were put on, and meet so many great people both other students and professionals. The event allowed me to learn about the different opportunities that I had not ever known about before and I was also able to talk with many of these professionals about potential opportunities for the future. The event was a great success for me and I hope to participate in other Trusted CI events in the future!

Matheu Fletcher, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign:
The summit was a great experience as my first real conference. My biggest personal takeaway was the friendliness and helpful nature of the community present. Similarly, the biggest technical aspect I learned from the event was gaining a better understanding of Zeek, along with various development tools I heard discussed that I can make use of to be more efficient in both work and personal projects. Additionally, I gained a better understanding of the ever-changing balance between creating and detecting AI generated texts.

Robert Johnson, The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga:
I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at the NSF Summit cybersecurity conference held at UC Berkeley. Not only were the surroundings gorgeous, but the organizers and attendees were extremely inviting. The more experienced members went out of their way to speak to first-time attendees providing networking opportunities. I believe it is important for students to familiarize themselves with the experience of attending a professional development conference. I enjoyed many of the talks and remained engaged despite the topics being niche and specific to different areas of cybersecurity. I am grateful to be able to speak with people from a variety of institutions, businesses, and countries and exchange knowledge.

Kaneesha Moore, Mississippi State University:
As a rather curious yet reserved individual, I was delighted to have TrustedCI’s 2023 NSF Cybersecurity Summit as my first professional conference. The atmosphere felt welcoming and inviting, and one could feel the passion for cybersecurity in the air – as cliché as it sounds. The workshops were intriguing and encouraged hands-on participation from other attendees which reinforced the topics discussed during the sessions. It is hard to choose a favorite, but I really enjoyed the workshops on artificial intelligence/machine learning and intrusion detection topics – Zeek, deep machine learning intrusion detection for SCADA (and similar) systems, and tutorials on detecting deepfake messages. It felt like an educational getaway with like-minded individuals who wanted to share and gain knowledge. I thoroughly enjoyed my time, and I hope to attend next year’s conference!

Ololade Odunsi, University of New Haven:
Attending the 2023 NSF Cybersecurity Summit was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I had the opportunity to meet industry professionals who were open to speaking with students and peers about topics they were interested in. From being paired with a mentor, to learning hands-on cybersecurity workshops and listening to seminars - the summit could not have been more value packed. I especially enjoyed the opportunity to present my poster on my background and projects I have worked on to the attendees, who were attentive and supportive.

Henry Schmidt, University of Arkansas:
I had a great experience at the Trusted CI NSF Cybersecurity Summit. It was fantastic to see and talk to the wide array of individuals who came to the conference. There was a considerable variety of seminars, talks, and workshops to attend. I liked in particular the talk on deep learning IDS by Dr. Ismail from Tennessee Tech as well as the security log analysis workshop by Mark Krenz, Ishan Abhinit, and Phuong Cao. It was a pleasure to talk with the other students and professionals from around the world at the conference. Everyone was genuinely interested in the work other people were doing in the cybersecurity space. Thank you to everyone that stopped by my poster to talk with me about the work that CyberHogs is doing with RazorHack Cyber Challenge at the University of Arkansas! I look forward to reaching out to everyone and carrying these connections with me as I move forward in my academic and professional career.

The Student Program has continued to be a very rewarding experience for us. If you are interested in becoming a mentor next year, please contact us at