Penn State Shenango celebrates new cybersecurity lab with ribbon-cutting event | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

SHARON, Pa. — Penn State Shenango officially unveiled its new Information Technology Cybersecurity Center at a ribbon-cutting ceremony held in the Forker Lab building on April 23. Students, faculty, staff and administrators were present, along with local community leaders and regional cybersecurity professionals, to celebrate the occasion. 

“What this brings to the school and to our students is monumental,” said Matthew DeMaria, cybersecurity analytics and operations program coordinator.

The center will help to support the existing cybersecurity curriculum by offering a closed-server environment where students and faculty can experiment with various forms of malware and viruses in a safe and secure way. 

“We’re building a lot of critical thinking skills and creativity,” DeMaria said. “Through the creative minds of our students, we’re able to explore and try new things. It’s through that exploration, that’s how we find out what happens next, and this lab will give us the opportunity to do that in a safe space.” 

Additionally, it will allow students at Shenango to work directly with some of the more dangerous software being used by “threat actors” to explore not only how it works but find ways to understand and stop it. The resources in the center will also allow Shenango faculty members to conduct malware analytics research to find new ways of dealing with viruses that don’t have solutions yet. 

“As technology continues to evolve, our ability to combat cyber threats must evolve as well. Our new Cybersecurity Center provides students and faculty here at Penn State Shenango with the resources they need to do just that,” said Jo Anne Carrick, campus director and chief academic officer, during the ceremony. “Because of this, our graduates will be uniquely prepared to enter the workforce with confidence knowing that they have had access to this space and its state-of-the-art resources.” 

The Information Technology Cybersecurity Center was made possible thanks to a generous gift of $50,000 from Zekelman Industries, the parent company of Sharon Tube Co. located in Farrell. 

“I wish I was a student again and had this opportunity, because it is groundbreaking,” DeMaria said. 

Learn more about the cybersecurity analytics and operations program at Shenango.


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