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Reflections from a Scholar: Nona Fulmore Harris

It was our first Governor’s STEM Scholars field trip and I was ready to learn a bit more about cybersecurity from professionals and what it was like for them to work at the New Jersey Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Hub (NJCICC) in West Trenton, NJ. We would hear from seven speakers working in cyber security and then take a tour of the State Data Center.

First up was Michael Geraghty, who is the NJCCIC Director and State Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). Director Geraghty talked about how the NJCCIC was created six years ago because "different agencies didn't share intelligence efficiently." He explained how it was made up of multiple different agencies and how it is the state's one shop for "info sharing, threat intelligence, best practices, and incident response."

Next we heard from Kevin McKenzie, who is a Cyber Defense Specialist, who spoke about how he found his love for computers. He showed us a website called CrowdStrike and he explained all of the little details on how to identify a threat and how to connect to one. This presentation really engaged the Scholars as it showed the type of STEM work that professionals did at NJCICC.

Jessica Reiszel, Cyber Defense Specialist at NJCICC, showed the Scholars how she protects the state’s web servers through a program called "Imperva."

The next speaker was Krista Valenzuela, who was one of the original staff members at NJCCIC and currently is a Senior Cyber Threat Intelligence Analyst. She explained the basics about the cyber security profession and cyber threats.

Joseph Russo, NJCICC’s Bureau Chief, provided an overview of security engineering, explaining email encryption data, normalization, analysis, and cleansing of data, hunting, and IOC threats.

Last, we heard from Mandy Galante, who is responsible for Cybersecurity Training and Education Services at NJCICC, who explained how to become a member and gain summer internships NJCICC.

The Scholars then took a tour of the State Data Center, where we saw how they are working to upgrade the state’s servers to better prepare for the future. The field trip was a lot of fun and I got to learn so much about cybersecurity.

Written by Nona Fulmore Harris

2021-2022 Governor's STEM Scholar

Nona Rain Fulmore Harris is a Computer Science STEM major at Diana C. Lobosco STEM Academy at the Passaic County Technical Vocational Schools in Wayne. She is also a College Dual STEM enrollment student at Passaic County Community College. She recently attended the Columbia University AI4ALL - Artificial Intelligence Summer Intensive Program and is a participant in the Change Makers of NYC. As a member of The Historic Calvary Baptist Church, she has strong Christian faith which keeps her centered and grounded, especially when life becomes challenging. Nona has participated in various civic and charitable projects throughout the city of Paterson as a member of The Paterson Youth Council, including volunteering at Eva’s Village Soup Kitchen, Lead Testing in the city of Paterson, national, state, and local elections, and the beautification efforts of the city of Paterson. She studied ballet and pointe at the Verona School of Classical Russian Ballet for many years and performed many leading roles in the production of the Snow Queen. Her musical abilities include piano, voice, and cello; athletic abilities include volleyball and swimming. Nona’s ultimate goals is to better her community and New Jersey, while providing her with impactful opportunities that will shape the rest of her life.


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