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Jordan Blackburn

3935

Bold Points

2x

Nominee

1x

Finalist

Bio

I am a thirty-eight-year-old entry-level systems engineer, finally accepting life for the incredible journey that it is. My experience and privilege in rediscovering connection, knowledge, and healthy habit following an unintended, existential detour are things that keep me eternally grateful. Along with the continued love & mercy of God, family, and friends that facilitated my ability to help others while discovering a personal, mental/spiritual fulfillment. While acting as a counselor and house manager at a His Way Recovery Center In Huntsville, I was also able to finish an Industrial & Systems Engineering Bachelors of Science for the University of Alabama. I then decided that my life would be complete if my job involved hands-on computer work. I continued volunteering as an addiction counselor and worked part-time for a private contracting firm. Recently, I received a partial scholarship to attend Syracuse University College of Engineering & Computer Science's Master's Program. I hope to continue my journey of helping others by protecting their valuable digital information using applicable methodologies in locating system vulnerabilities, implementing new security infrastructure, innovating security software, data collecting & forensics, etc. Cybersecurity and Computer Networking have always been a hobby, so any sub-domain that eventually call a career will be exhilarating to me. Although it will be challenging academically and financially, I know it will ultimately be rewarding to my life in the same way.

Education

Syracuse University

Master's degree program
2021 - 2024
  • Majors:
    • Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunications
    • Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services, Other
    • Computer/Information Technology Administration and Management

University of Alabama in Huntsville

Bachelor's degree program
2017 - 2021
  • Majors:
    • Industrial Engineering
    • Systems Engineering
  • Minors:
    • Mathematics and Statistics, Other

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Doctoral degree program (PhD, MD, JD, etc.)

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services, Other
    • Intelligence, Command Control and Information Operations
    • Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunications
    • Homeland Security
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Computer Networking

    • Dream career goals:

      Chief Technology Officer, Lead Technical Advisor/Consultant, President/Founder of Cybersecurity Company

    • House Manager

      His Way Recovery Center
      2019 – 20212 years
    • Project Manager/Registration Maintenance/Data Analyst

      Winchester Contracting Services, LLC
      2021 – Present3 years
    • Process Engineering Intern

      Cerrowire
      2020 – 20211 year

    Sports

    Cross-Country Running

    Junior Varsity
    1997 – 20003 years

    Awards

    • All-State

    Research

    • Statistical Quality Control

      University of Alabama In Huntsville — Co-Lead Engineer
      2020 – 2020
    • Adjacent Parking Lot Affect On Traffic

      University Of Alabama In Huntsville — Chief Engineer
      2019 – 2020
    • Traffic Behavior/Civil Engineering

      Can't Recall Name of The Company — Traffic Count/Co-Lead
      2006 – 2006

    Arts

    • University of Mississippi/Various Members & Bands

      Music
      Private
      2003 – 2007

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Feed My Sheep — Volunteer
      2019 – Present

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Entrepreneurship

    AMPLIFY Diversity in Technology Scholarship
    Halfway through my engineering education, it became apparent how much networking and computer security needed real, field-educated professionals. Sound strategies apply internally as well, so we can disregard the outside for now. It seemed the industry grew too fast without any real sort of oversight on this subject, or perhaps that is just my perception of how it was then, hindsight being 20/20 and all that. I'm of the mind that cybersecurity has had massive growth without proper guidance or nurturing, and thinking further outside the box will mean stepping further outside our comfort zones. This technology is where I believe we could use some more mutual understanding, investigation, and conclusive application in areas of internal access for long-term security and breakthrough. The profession has become better, more focused, and more well-known than around 2008. In 2008, everyday professionals did not seem to know what network security was. They were also ignorant that the lackadaisical attitude they had towards their digital information could end their company. At the time, I interned at an establishment where I was within arms reach from full access to people's credit card data and personal information, with no oversight to who had access before, during, or after the workday was over. There were no firewall constraints that I could not get around if I chose to click a few buttons now to allow me access later. The key here is our perception of the people for whom we work for or with. Also, the ultimate goals/motives each person has. Should we overthink it? Do they look smart? Like a criminal? Should it always be a senior-level access policy be the higher you go, the more information you are given access to at a company? Would that sort of withholding not help feed the curiosity of a talented, overlooked hacker? There needs to be a better way to recognize and nurture talent in the workplace today in the information security industry. During this time, I probably did not look like I knew how to or cared to get my hands on this information because there is the semi-irrelevant fact that I was an alcoholic at the time and did not have much drive to attempt hours of hacking. However, there is the fact that I thought about it, had the knowledge, and very well could have. Regarding my past, I am now four years sober, and I have channeled that behavior into something entirely positive, thanks to someone who saw it as a related experience for resolving their particular problem. I have always thought about and think of the network and computer security field as wide open to people of all sorts of taboo, diverse, misjudged, or redeemed backgrounds. It's probably the only profession that supports the application of criminal mindsets towards a positive, safe outcome. Cybersecurity is the only sort of niche, criminal-deterring technology outside of home security that can stake a claim in basing its finished products off not only stakeholders and engineers but criminals alike. For example, last week, one man admitted to stealing $600 million from a company right after hacking it. The company offered him a job and a reward. Now, this might have been his end game from the start, but what a better world for cybersecurity and human beings if we stopped punishing/ignoring talent but helped/listened to them instead. I see this not only help the industry grow but also our tolerance of difference and diversity. Underutilization of talent is an underutilization of talent; it's a waste.