Army vets among inaugural NYU grads of new program for cybersecurity leaders

NEW YORK, Monday, June 10, 2019 – Two army veterans, Khalil Jackson and Michelle Torres, are on new terrain with their command of legal and technical issues in the robust and rapidly evolving world of cybersecurity. In May, Jackson and Torres were among the inaugural class of graduates to receive NYU’s new Master of Science in Cybersecurity Risk and Strategy (MS CRS). The MS CRS program is a one-year part-time degree program offered jointly by NYU School of Law and the NYU Tandon School of Engineering. The program provides managers with interdisciplinary expertise in technology, law, and policy, positioning them for key leadership roles within their organizations. 

“Veterans working across sectors and job functions are using the program to equip themselves with the skills, knowledge and network to be effective cyber risk managers,” said Erin O’Brien, executive director of the Institute for Executive Education at NYU Law. “The program convenes a unique conversation among regulators and intelligence professionals, network security engineers and architects, data scientists and privacy professionals working to understand and address complex issues in cybersecurity risk and strategy.”

According to O’Brien, a quarter of the students in the program are veterans who have transitioned into the private sector. NYU’s participation in the Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program helps cover a portion of the program’s costs.

Jackson, senior vice president of the Bank of America Merrill Lynch, served in Afghanistan during two deployments and has spent a significant portion of the past two decades leading cybersecurity strategy in both the private and public sectors. He joined the MS CRS program to complement his technical knowledge with the legal and policy aspects of cybersecurity.

Torres, director of technology services and cybersecurity at NBC Universal, spent eight years in the US Army Reserves. Today she applies the lessons of caution and vigilance to her current role which involves protecting NBC’s content to avoid crises like the 2014 hack of Sony Pictures. “The military taught me that inattentiveness or being careless with details could have very grave consequences. In cybersecurity, there is no cutting corners,” said Torres.

The MSCRS program is premised on the idea that cybersecurity — both prevention and response — frequently requires coordination between public- and private-sector organizations as well as fluency across the technological, legal, and regulatory domains.

According to Jackson, “It is critical that our public and private sector leaders recognize, advocate for, and fund the steps necessary to manage the global cybersecurity risk. This means a focus on education and developing a workforce that deliberately includes diverse personal and professional backgrounds.”

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