Before graduating from Henry Ford II High School in 2018, Connor Juretich investigated colleges and universities in a methodical fashion, befitting a future network security administrator, before making his decision.
“Macomb offered classes that aligned with my career interests,” he says, “and offered them at a significantly lower price compared to large, four-year universities.”
Juretich is in the second year of Macomb’s Network Security Professional (cybersecurity) program and was recently elected president of the Cybersecurity Club by his fellow members. His responsibilities include fundraising, development of club projects, and scheduling guest speakers. Most recently, members heard from Macomb County Sheriff’s Office and U.S. Department of Defense cybersecurity experts. But while the club was formed to give members additional opportunities to strengthen their analytical skills, including competing in the National Cyber League, its door is open to all.
“Our club is really informal,” offers Juretich, “and we welcome people who are interested and of all skill levels, regardless of whether they are enrolled in the cybersecurity program or not.”
At their first meeting of the fall semester, club members learned from their faculty advisor, Keith Nabozny, that Macomb had just been designated a National Center for Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity Education Associate Level by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. A seal will now be affixed to the transcripts of program graduates certifying that their education has met the most rigorous of standards.
“(The designation) serves as a way to legitimize the feeling I’ve had the whole time while going through the cybersecurity program here at Macomb,” says Juretich, “that the program is challenging, practical and competitive.”
Juretich’s own interest in the cybersecurity field developed as he increasingly realized how significant a threat data breaches and cyberattacks posed to the global infrastructure.
“Not only was I curious as to what kind of security vulnerabilities there are in the world,” he says, “but I was also surprised as to how many there are, and I wanted to be a part of securing those critical information systems.”
On target to graduate in December, Juretich is transferring to Walsh, also a designated center of academic excellence, to pursue a bachelor’s degree in information technology with a concentration in cybersecurity. As he has at Macomb, Juretich intends to accelerate his studies and graduate from Walsh at the end of fall semester 2020. His own drive mirrors the “no fluff” approach to cybersecurity education that he sees as the cornerstone of Macomb’s program.
“The objectives of Macomb’s IT professors aren’t to drown the students in countless hours of homework, but instead prioritize the students learning practical skills that they can take into the workforce,” says Juretich. “The objective is learning what matters.”