There are many different phases of a college experience. Some are good, some are mediocre and some challenge you to your core and require you to find strength you did not even know you had. Oftentimes, the challenging experiences are the ones that impact you profoundly and stay with you for the rest of your life.
For Matt Hansen, that experience was, and continues to be, his relationship with Indiana Tech’s cyber defense team, the Cyber Warriors.
Matt earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Indiana Tech; a Bachelor of Science in Network Engineering in 2014 and a Master of Science in Engineering Management in 2018. He came to Indiana Tech for the academic programming that was offered and he poured himself into his college experience.
The first week of school, he began working in Indiana Tech’s Information Technology department and continued to work there for the next three years. He joined Indiana Tech’s cyber defense team and spent most of his time in Indiana Tech’s networking lab in the Zollner Engineering Center. His senior year, he spent 40 hours a week in the net lab working on projects for his classes and the cyber defense team, and creating his own projects. It truly became his home away from home; he spent more time there than at his apartment.
The Cyber Warriors train year-round in preparation for collegiate cyber defense competitions. These competitions require the team to defend their network infrastructure from “hackers” who are trying to breach its security. Teams are challenged to maintain a secure system while addressing additional challenges that arise during the grueling competition.
For Matt, his involvement with the team shaped his career in a profound way. Having to learn how to secure something requires you to learn every aspect of the system. You cannot successfully secure it without understanding it holistically. The cyber defense competitions prepare you for a job after college in a way that nothing else can. In these challenges, one hour is equivalent to 40 hours of dedicated network engineering time, meaning that in the “real world” it would take an entire workweek for a network engineer to solve the problem that the cyber defense team has to solve in an hour.
After earning his degree, Matt began working for IDEMIA, a company he interned with while a student. Nevertheless, Matt never drifted far from Indiana Tech and the Cyber Warriors. Having poured so much of himself into the team while in college, he wanted to help propel it into a successful future. He continued to be involved with the team as an alumnus, and when he began working at Indiana Tech as an adjunct faculty member, he was eager to become the team’s faculty advisor. This allows him to continue to build upon the foundation of success and tradition that he contributed to as a student.
His involvement with the Cyber Warriors has remained constant, but there are things he sees differently now that he is a faculty member and team advisor. He sees the value in the information and curriculum that, as a student, he thought he would never use outside of the classroom. In his own career, he sees what he learned in those classes allows him to be a better professional and understand more.
Not only is Matt an alumnus, an adjunct faculty member and a faculty advisor, he is also a student. Having just finished his Master of Science in Engineering Management this month, Matt has designed classes with professors who are teaching classes in which he is currently enrolled. This gives him a unique perspective from which he views the university.
So what would Matt tell you about getting involved with Indiana Tech as an alumnus? He would tell you to do it! There is a sense of pride that comes from being involved in something in which you have already invested so much of yourself. It is part of you, and it is a foundational building block for your career. It gives you the opportunity to build the next block and perpetuate the impact the school had on you.
Are you an alumnus who wants to be more involved with Indiana Tech? Email Alumni@IndianaTech.edu and let us know!