WSU partners with cyber security firm


Courtesy Photo

Matt Forney, left, with Wichita State and Mershard Frierson, right, with Cyber Research Group.

Wichita​ ​State​ ​students​ ​will​ ​soon​ ​have​ ​the​ ​opportunity​ ​to​ ​work​ ​for​ ​a​ ​cyber​ ​security​ ​company serving​ ​federal​ ​clients.

Ennovar​ ​Technology​ ​Solutions​ ​at​ ​WSU​ ​has​ ​partnered​ ​with​ Wichita-based cyber security firm, ​Cyber​ ​Research​ ​Group,​ ​ to​ ​create​ ​new​ ​jobs​ ​for​ ​students​ ​interested​ ​in​ ​cyber​ ​security.

Matt​ ​Forney,​ ​executive​ ​director​ ​of​ ​Ennovar,​ ​said​ ​the​ ​partnership​ ​offers​ ​applied​ ​learning opportunities​ ​for​ ​students​ ​majoring​ ​in​ ​engineering​ ​and​ ​computer​ ​science.

“Our​ ​core​ ​mission​ ​for​ ​Ennovar…​ ​is​ ​to​ ​be​ ​applied​ ​learning​ ​for​ ​students,”​ ​Forney​ ​said.​ ​​ ​“Another goal​ ​of​ ​the​ ​partnership​ ​is​ ​to​ ​attract​ ​more​ ​students​ ​to​ ​WSU.”

One​ ​of​ ​the​ ​stated​ ​goals​ ​of​ ​WSU’s​ ​innovation​ ​campus​ ​is​ ​to​ ​create​ ​more​ ​job​ ​opportunities​ ​for students.​

“The​ ​partnership​ ​is​ ​a​ ​positive​ ​situation​ ​for​ ​all​ ​involved.​ ​Students​ ​will​ ​gain​ ​applied​ ​learning opportunities​ ​and​ ​experience​ ​in​ ​the​ ​cyber​ ​security​ ​sector,​ ​and​ ​Cyber​ ​Research​ ​Group​ ​will​ ​gain the​ ​potential​ ​to​ ​increase​ ​capacity,​ ​driving​ ​economic​ ​growth​ ​for​ ​the​ ​region,”​ ​said​ ​Tracee​ ​Friess, director​ ​of​ ​communication​ ​research​ ​and​ ​technology​ ​transfer​ ​at​ ​WSU.

Students​ ​will​ ​begin​ ​paid,​ ​part-time​ ​jobs​ ​with​ ​Cyber​ ​Research​ Group ​in​ ​January.​ ​The​ ​initial​ ​goal​ ​is​ ​10 students,​ ​but​ ​Forney​ ​said​ ​they​ ​are​ ​hoping​ ​to​ ​grow​ ​from​ ​there.

Forney​ ​said​ ​the​ ​students​ ​will​ ​mostly​ ​work​ ​at​ ​the​ ​Ennovar​ ​campus office.

About​ ​half​ ​of​ ​Cyber Research Group’s work​ ​is​ ​for​ ​the​ ​federal​ ​government​ ​and​ ​half​ ​for​ ​commercial​ ​companies​ ​and​ ​clients​ ​including Walmart​ ​and​ ​Home​ ​Depot.

Cyber​ ​Research​ ​Group monitors​ ​firewalls and operating​ ​systems,​ ​manages​ ​anti-virus​ ​systems,​ ​and other​ ​activities​ ​involved​ ​in​ ​cyber​ ​security.

“We​ ​are​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​only​ ​true​ ​cyber​ ​security​ ​companies​ ​in​ ​Wichita,”​ ​said​ ​Mershard​ ​Frierson,​ ​vice president​ ​of​ ​Cyber​ ​Research Group.

Through​ ​the​ ​partnership, ​Ennovar​ ​has​ stated ​two​ ​goals​ — ​offer​ ​applied​ ​learning​ ​and​ ​fulfill​ ​workforce demands.

“Essentially,​ ​what​ ​we​ ​are​ ​doing​ ​is​ ​we​ ​are​ ​building​ ​up​ ​the​ ​talent​ ​pipeline,”​ ​Frierson​ ​said.​ ​“Right now,​ ​we​ ​have​ ​job​ ​opportunities​ ​in​ ​Wichita​ ​that​ ​we​ ​can’t​ ​fill.”

Cyber​ ​Research​ ​has​ ​to​ ​hire​ ​people​ ​from​ ​larger​ ​cities​ ​who​ ​aren’t​ ​familiar​ ​with​ ​Wichita.​

“It​ ​just​ ​speeds​ ​up​ ​the​ ​relationship​ ​and​ ​really​ ​adds​ ​value​ ​as​ ​soon​ ​possible,”​ ​Frierson​ ​said.

Forney​ ​said​ ​students​ ​interested​ ​in​ ​the​ ​partnership​ ​have​ ​reached​ ​out​ ​to​ ​him.​ ​He​ ​is​ ​currently evaluating​ ​candidates​ ​to​ ​begin​ ​working​ ​for​ ​Cyber​ ​Research Group ​in​ ​January.

“We​ ​are​ ​a​ ​providing​ ​them​ ​with​ ​tools​ ​to​ ​help​ ​with​ ​career​ ​trajectory,”​ ​Frierson​ ​said.


(Angela Lingg is a senior in the Elliott School of Communications and has a special interest in journalism.)