Cyber expertise earns Hayes comprehensive journey to graduate university

Thomas Hayes left no stone unturned when it arrived to setting up his qualifications and

Thomas Hayes left no stone unturned when it arrived to setting up his qualifications and serving to others when he was a college student at the University of North Georgia (UNG). Now, the December 2020 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in information programs has parlayed individuals qualities into a prestigious comprehensive-experience graduate university scholarship.

Hayes is pursuing a master’s degree in cybersecurity and privateness at New Jersey Institute of Know-how by way of the CyberCorps Scholarship for Company software, which covers entire tuition, a $34,000 annual stipend, health insurance, and funds for skilled development and textbooks. Funded by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the scholarship is intended to recruit and educate the next era of information technological know-how gurus, industrial handle program safety experts, and safety managers to meet the cybersecurity requires of all degrees of governing administration.

Dr. Richelle Oakley, associate professor of data programs at UNG, mentored Hayes by way of the McNair Scholars Plan. She recollects him juggling his senior 12 months coursework, researching for and earning the CompTIA Stability+ certificate, mentoring higher school pupils, and applying for graduate faculty.

“Around the time that we labored collectively with the McNair program, Thomas uncovered how to increase his time management competencies to efficiently engage in various duties at once,” Oakley said.

The McNair System is designed to prepare sophomores, juniors and seniors from all UNG campuses for post-graduate studies by involvement in investigation and scholarly pursuits.

Hayes’ McNair study targeted on mitigating the spread of misinformation on social media by inspecting whether a checklist of associated article content could modify people’s chance to imagine untrue information. He offered this study at an info systems convention and submitted the paper to a enterprise journal for publication.

He also took portion in the 2019 Summer season Undergraduate Exploration Fellowship at the Nationwide Institute for Criteria and Technological innovation, exactly where he researched general public consciousness of cybersecurity occupations. Throughout an online Nationwide Science Foundation Investigate Expertise for Undergraduates by way of North Dakota Point out University in summer months 2020, he coded software package to calculate credibility scores for simulated social media accounts.

Hayes credits a mentality of consistent finding out for his trajectory.

“I appreciate a obstacle, and I am superior at studying how to do distinct things,” Hayes claimed. “I am a quick learner, and I am not worried to simply call myself a starter. I like to be on the chopping edge as a lot as doable.”

Dr. Bryan Dawson, principal investigator for the McNair Scholars Plan at UNG, appreciated the way Hayes worked with Upward Sure pupils and served as a research ambassador for the Middle for Undergraduate Analysis and Resourceful Things to do.

Hayes’ acumen for tackling key jobs also impressed Dawson.

“He is very self-enthusiastic and determined. When supplied a directive, he is really fast to crack it down to its fundamental elements,” Dawson said. “He helps make a plan and timeline, and he is crystal clear in terms of pursuing up and inquiring for feedback.”

A reverse engineering study course with Dr. Bryson Payne, professor of laptop or computer science and director of UNG’s Heart for Cyber Functions Schooling, for the duration of Hayes’ final undergraduate semester assisted put together him for graduate scientific tests.

“Thomas is a excellent case in point of the kind of cyber leader UNG is identified for developing, serving as a mentor and tutor to initially-technology college or university learners and helping direct our cyber competition teams to get the NSA Codebreaker Obstacle for a second calendar year in a row,” Payne claimed.

Hayes has presented the blueprint for other people at UNG to follow.

“He served as a function design for our other McNair students. He showed other learners this is attainable,” Dawson mentioned. “I know he’s likely to succeed. He’s genuinely nicely established-up.”