Quinnipiac hosts ‘Hacker High School’ for students interested in cybersecurity

July 31, 2023

Photo of Mohammad Alkuwaiti participating in Quinnipiac's Hacker High School

Mohammad Alkuwaiti, 16, traveled all the way from Abu Dhabi to attend a unique cyber security program designed for high school students at Quinnipiac.

“I was searching for a cybersecurity course to study,” he said. “I thought, why don’t I go study abroad? I knew the United States was a good place for students to go to study abroad and get a scholarship. My parents helped me find the right university. I took a 14-hour flight and now I’m here. This is my first time in the United States."

Alkuwaiti was one of 20 high school students to attend the summer program, “Hacker High School: Introduction to Cybersecurity,” which was overseen by Robert Jasek, Quinnipiac’s chief information security officer.

During the two-week program, which ran from July 17-28, students lived on campus and learned how to protect themselves and their information from cybercriminals and get ahead within the fast-growing, high-potential industry of cybersecurity.

“I want students to have the basic understanding of the foundations of securing computer systems,” Jasek said. “They all have an interest in computer security which is phenomenal. I just want them to understand the tools and techniques that we use in the field and how to apply them."

Jasek added that the high school students “get along so well with a goal of security.”
Alkuwaiti agreed.

“We all get along as if we are friends for years,” he said. “Everyone here is so friendly. We all share the same interest in cybersecurity. I do enjoy it here. I wish I could stay, but I’ve got my senior year to finish.”

Most of the students were interested in careers in computer science, cybersecurity or information technology as well as learning about the tools and techniques to keep information secure in today’s digital world.

Andrew Mank, 15, from New Canaan, Connecticut, had a much shorter commute than Alkuwaiti, but the two became fast friends.

“I’ve loved this program so much,” Mank said. “I’ve never met any of these people before, but they’re all so great and friendly. We all have a common interest and Jasek is very good and engaging. It’s not boring and cybersecurity is so important. This is a great opportunity to explore a field of interest and to see where I’m going in my life.”

Hacker High School was developed in partnership with the Institute for Security and Open Methodologies (ISECOM). Students learned cybersecurity fundamentals and skills to keep their identities and personal devices safe from attackers using the same tools and techniques the professionals use, as well as gain a deep understanding of what “hacking” — the ability to figure out computer systems — is all about. Specific topics covered include internet infrastructure, malware, attack analysis, digital forensics, email safety, web security and privacy.

Jasek said the program also prepared students to take the official certification exam to become a certified hacker analyst, sponsored by ISECOM.

Stay in the Loop

Sign Up Now