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Cybersecurity is a fast-growing STEM field with unlimited opportunities for students seeking a career in the field. The U.S. has 314,000 unfiled cybersecurity positions, according to Cyber Seek, a project of the National Institute for Cybersecurity Education, a program of the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the U.S. Department of Commerce.Quinn McCrary

One Oklahoma student has taken advantage of every opportunity to prepare for one of these positions. Quinn McCrary joined the OneNet team as a cybersecurity intern in December 2019 and recently was promoted to a full-time position as a OneNet cybersecurity technician.

McCrary has an associate degree in Applied Science in Cybersecurity/Digital Forensics from Rose State College and is working towards a Bachelor of Technology in Information Technology with a major in cybersecurity and digital forensics from Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology in Okmulgee.

“Cybersecurity is a major that aligns well with my interests and also has a good career path and clear job prospects,” said McCrary.

In his new role, McCrary is contributing to a variety of security projects for OneNet and the State Regents. He handles daily operational security reviews and responses to alerts from intrusion detection systems and malware alerts for endpoint security.

McCrary is preparing documentation and reviewing compliance requirements for the annual Federal Student Aid security assessment for the Oklahoma College Assistance Program, another division of the State Regents. He also reviews risk items and coordinates with the State Regents’ information technology staff and a third-party vendor for pentests, which check for security vulnerabilities across the agency’s systems.

Two other vital projects McCrary contributes to are the government risk compliance (GRC) tool and the DEMARC project. He aggregates information from existing assessments and adds that information to the GRC portal to automate systems and track security controls. The DMARC project is improving email security for the agency. McCrary manages steps to move the agency through the project and coordinates with other staff.

“OneNet’s security department has been fortunate to have Quinn on board first in our internship program and now full-time as a cybersecurity technician,” said Chris Kosciuk, chief information security officer. “His work and contributions to our department help us in managing our workload and ensuring security compliance for our agency.”

McCrary is glad he found the internship with the State Regents and OneNet.

“While I was searching for a cybersecurity or IT job, the position jumped out at me, because it was posted by the State Regents, which is printed on my associate degree. I recognized the organization,” McCrary said.

His favorite part of his studies has been the hands-on labs that provide the opportunity to apply lecture topics in more real-world scenarios. He’s found these opportunities in his work at OneNet as well.

“I’ve been able to apply knowledge I’ve learned in my coursework and gain experience in programming, compliance and firewall rules,” he said. “The tools and environment, as with any organization, differ greatly from a test environment or my own home environment.”

McCrary’s advice to other students looking for an internship is to find a position where the organization has designed the internship to help the student and provide a valuable experience in the desired field.

When he’s not at school or at work, McCrary enjoys video games and playing his trombone. He’s looking forward to graduating at the end of summer 2021.

“OneNet’s internship program is designed to help students become career-ready and build their resumes,” said Kosciuk. “However, OneNet reaps the benefits just as much as the students, thanks to the level of skills and quality of work they bring to the positions. We appreciate the work Quinn does every day. He makes a real difference in our cybersecurity initiatives.”

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