Alumna presents at global cybersecurity conference in Sweden

By Janel Shoun-Smith and Janice Ng on 6/13/2014

   
   

Sarah Nance, a 2013 Lipscomb graduate with a master’s degree in information security, is going global to Stockholm, Sweden, this June to present at the Kaspersky Next Generation conference, an international conference on cybersecurity hosted by Kaspersky Academy.

Nance, an information security officer at Caterpillar Financial in Nashville, received third place in Kaspersky Academy’s North American conference this spring making her eligible to attend the global conference.

The Next Generation global conference and competition brings together young researchers, information technology security experts and university professors from all over the world in a collaborative, fun and creative environment to present and discuss the most burning issues relating to cyber security.

In November 2013, Nance submitted the paper she put together for her master’s capstone at Lipscomb. In March, she was invited to attend the Americas round at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. She was one of nine other students selected from more than 100 submissions.

While many of the presentations focused on very technical and often controversial topics, Nance said hers had a focus on communicating with people about security awareness.

“IT people teach backwards,” Nance said. “We start with the worst-case scenario. We teach what you need to do without teaching why we do it. In real teaching, you start with basics, and then use real-world activities, games and exercises to think about what you are doing.”

Nance says she is honored to be selected for the Stockholm conference. She will present her topic again among professionals, educators and 12 other students from around the world.

“Teaching is a forgotten avenue (in the technology field),” Nance said. “Everyone (in IT) thinks they’re going to make the next big product, but you have to understand what people already know in order to be able to teach more.

“It’s very rare to find a people-person who is a technology person. I can speak both geek and human,” she said.

That’s a highly valuable skill in technology and one reason there is such a focus on recruiting more women – who are generally considered better at many communication skills – into technology fields, said Finn Breland, the enrollment manager for Lipscomb’s School of Computing and Informatics.

Nance also has a bachelor of science in telecommunications systems management from Murray State University in Kentucky.

Kaspersky Academy is a part of Kaspersky Labs, a company that provides computer antivirus products.