Science & Mathematics – The Citadel Today https://today.citadel.edu Mon, 15 Aug 2022 20:21:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8.5 https://today.citadel.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Citadel-Favion-new-150x150.png Science & Mathematics – The Citadel Today https://today.citadel.edu 32 32 144096890 Cadets and students spend their summer serving and learning in Africa https://today.citadel.edu/cadets-and-students-spend-their-summer-serving-and-learning-in-africa/ Sat, 06 Aug 2022 00:54:27 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=32808 "In the first day, I learned that language barriers do not inhibit you from giving the gifts of hope and comfort."]]>

Photos courtesy of Ryan Kasyan

A month in Kenya providing medical services to the underprivileged in Kenya during the summer of 2021 was so inspiring to Sarah Imam, M.D., a Health and Human Performance professor at The Citadel, that she wanted to offer the same experience to her students. With the help of Mr. and Mrs. David C. Swain Jr., ’80, and Dr. and Mrs. Christopher C. Swain, ’81, she did just that.

In June, Imam and her colleague Professor Kimbo Yee traveled with 23 cadets and students to Nairobi. For three weeks, the group operated a medical clinic with free services in Mathare, a slum in Nairobi where the average life expectancy is 30 years.

The Citadel group performed ECGs and ultrasounds, administered vaccines, dressed wounds, tested vision and even treated a case of elephantiasis. All of their work fell under the Association of American Medical Colleges guidelines, and the students did not participate in any medical procedures.

“Nairobi slum residents have a high mortality burden from preventable and treatable conditions,” said Imam.

When the Swains — who together founded OB Hospitalist Group, the largest and only dedicated OB/GYN hospitalist employer in the nation — learned of Imam’s plans to offer a medical service-learning program in Africa, they immediately volunteered to fund the project.

“As a physician and a human, it’s useful to have a good understanding of what poverty is, what hardship is and how it feels to give back and make a difference,” said Chris Swain. “You can’t really teach empathy, but you can pick it up through a hands-on, immersive experience like this.”

When they were not in clinic, the students toured Kenya, taking in a giraffe center, visiting an elephant orphanage and going on a boat safari.

Stay tuned: Additional travelogues by veteran student Ben Knight will appear in The Citadel magazine in October.

Jambo from Nairobi

Cadet Camille Simmons, a senior Exercise Science major from Tallahassee, Florida, spent three weeks in Kenya as part of The Citadel’s summer service-learning program in Africa. Simmons wrote this story about her introduction to Kenya and the work Citadel volunteers performed with the United Cultural Empowerment and Social Community Organization – Africa (UCESCO).

Nairobi introduces herself with traffic, on the wrong side of a winding highway with the smell of exhaust blowing through an open window, and – goats. Yes, goats, bleating cluelessly on a sidewalk. After the highway splits off, colorful artwork in the form of clotheslines swamps the rundown apartment complexes. People selling fruits, meats, socks, shoes and jewelry shout at pedestrians in smooth Swahili as our bus pulls into the medical camp. This morning, the faint smell of smoked meat greets us all, along with a hint of cigars.

“Is that barbeque?” Heidi, my roommate, asks.

“Jambo!” a UCESCO worker shouts as we hop off the bus. We’re all greeted with the biggest, most joyful smiles.

“Jambo, Jambo!” we all shout in unison. This was the first word our group collectively learned, the Swahili word for “hello.”

The camp bustles with sick children, people eager to see a dentist and patients who need insulin. And each one returns the only greeting I know with a smile. Their inherent happiness is contagious, even among sickness and injury. It’s the one contagion we all hope to acquire.

“It’s going to be okay,” I assure an older man with a badly broken arm. I know that he can’t understand a word I say, but as he looks into my eyes and sees my smile, his face relaxes. In the first day, I learned that language barriers do not inhibit you from giving the gifts of hope and comfort. The universal language is found in our tones and expressions.

The man returns later with a copy of his x-ray, and we raise 10,000 Kenyan shillings to help him afford a cast that will save his arm.

“Where are you from?,” a sweet Kenyan school girl asks me in perfect English.

“America!” I tell her excitedly. Her face lights up, and with a smile plastered across her lips, she introduces me to the rest of her school friends.

“Do you like spaghetti?”

“Do you know Barack Obama?”

“Do you watch football?”

I am overwhelmed by the interest and excitement these school children display. Their smiles and laughter overtake the bustling sounds of the slums outside of camp. My hair becomes a novelty, its texture and color unbeknownst to the children.

“Do you have any questions about America?” I ask our interpreter, Jeremy, who is studying psychology and hopes to be a counselor.

“Uhh… what is your economy like?” he asks. After I explain the basics of the American economy, which I still do not fully understand, he and his coworker, Linda, review the dynamics of the Kenyan economy.

I spend the rest of my day shadowing Dr. Imam as she assists patients of all ages with all sorts of medical issues. Pneumonia, ulcers, asthma, scabies, high blood pressure and even severe anxiety—issues that are not as emergent in America, issues that are generally resolvable in a day, but here, in the slums of Nairobi, they become life threatening.

Throughout the day, our group zips from tent to tent, records vitals, shadows physicians, greets hundreds of patients and enjoys a nice break in the winter sun, which, if you don’t know, is unbearably hot. However, this does not seem to faze the child performers who conduct beautiful traditional dances as a gesture of thanks. Colorful costumes, full smiles and booming drums bring our first day of medical camp to a close.

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Change-leading Citadel researcher and professor earns accolade from SC governor https://today.citadel.edu/change-leading-citadel-researcher-and-professor-earns-accolade-from-sc-governor/ Wed, 15 Jun 2022 18:43:38 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=32551 Weinstein’s research on microplastics, especially the discovery of microscopic tire particles in coastal waters, has gained both national and international attention.]]>

John Weinstein, Ph.D., recipient of Governor’s Award for Excellence in Scientific Research

He is best known for his landmark studies assessing the sources, fate and effects of plastic and microplastic pollution along the South Carolina coast. That work is just part of what led John Weinstein, Ph.D., a professor of Biology at The Citadel, to be the 2022 recipient of the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Scientific Research at a Predominantly Undergraduate Institution.

Dr. Weinstein’s research in the last two decades has been squarely at the epicenter of environmental toxicology, providing scientific insight into some of the most pressing environmental issues that affect our coastal ecosystems.

Darin Zimmerman, Ph.D., dean for the Swain Family School of Mathematics and Science, introducing John Weinstein at the Governor’s award event on May 31, 2022

Zimmerman accompanied Weinstein to the state capitol to accept the honor from South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster.

“This award recognizes Dr. John Weinstein’s record of scientific research excellence as well as his many contributions to teaching and service. He is a highly respected scientist with an impressive record of research accomplishments. Through teaching and mentoring of students, he has expanded our state’s STEM literacy and helped to increase the visibility of its research within the national and international scientific communities,” the Governor’s proclamation read.

Why he stands out

Cadets Jerry Higgins and Douglas Karam, accompanied by Dr. John Weinstein, Biology, deploy an experiment to measure how face masks, rubber gloves and hand wipes decompose in the salt marsh behind Inouye Hall on Thursday, October 14, 2021.

Weinstein’s research on microplastics, especially the discovery of microscopic tire particles in coastal waters, has gained both national and international attention. The national media, including National Geographic, National Public Radio and the National Resources Defense Council have highlighted his research findings. Underscoring the international significance of Weinstein’s research, he was recently invited to participate in hearings at the French Senate in Paris as the Parliamentary Office for Scientific and Technological Assessment were interested in learning more about his findings.

Weinstein’s current national and international grant-funded research projects include:

  • Microplastic abundance in oysters and its impact on human health (funded through a $5.7 million grant through the National Institutes of Health to establish a Center for Oceans and Human Health and Climate Change Interactions at the University of South Carolina)
  • Pathways of Microplastic and Tire Particles through Stormwater Infrastructure (funded by the South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium, research being conducted with colleagues from Clemson and College of Charleston)
  • Nuisance Flooding as a Pathway for Microplastic Entry into Coastal Waters (funded through The Citadel Near Center for Climate Studies, research being conducted with colleagues from the University of Pennsylvania)
  • Occurrence and Degradation of Pandemic-Related Plastic PPE in Charleston Harbor (funded by the South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium)
  • Application of Standardized Litter Assessment Methodology to Southeastern U.S. Beaches to Compare French and U.S. Plastic Debris (funded by the Global Council for Science and the Environment, research being conducted with French scientists from the Center of Documentation, Research and Experimentation on Accidental Water Pollution)
Dr. John Weinstein studies microplastics at The Citadel (Courtesy: Victoria Hansen, SC Public Radio)
Dr. John Weinstein studies microplastics at The Citadel. (Courtesy: Victoria Hansen, SC Public Radio)

Weinstein, who was recently named assistant provost for research at The Citadel, received his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1991. He accepted a faculty position with the Department of Biology at The Citadel in 2000, where he has since also served in a variety of administrative roles including department chair, associate dean for accreditation and interim dean. Weinstein has established an impressive record of mentoring both undergraduate and graduate students in his research, many of whom have won presentation awards at local, national and international conferences and have gone on to successful careers in environmental science.

I can trace my interest in the field of environmental toxicology all the way back to when I was growing up in New Jersey, where my family would spend summers at the beach. Even at an early age, I used to wonder where marine debris came from and what impacts was it having on sea creatures. These early experiences fostered in me a curiosity of the natural world and an appreciation of how humans can influence natural processes. Equally important is that I thoroughly enjoy training the next generation of scientists by providing guidance and mentorship. The undergraduate and graduate students that I’ve trained in my research laboratory have been truly remarkable. The recognition that I’ve received is really a testament to their hard work and perseverance.

John Weinstein, Ph.D., Biology professor and assistant provost for research at The Citadel
Dr. John Weinstein (center with plaque) posing for a photograph at the South Carolina state capitol with his family and with the Dean of the Swain Family School of Science and Mathematics, Darin Zimmerman (far right), on May 31, 2022.
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Careers in medicine: goals realized through The Citadel’s pre-health opportunities https://today.citadel.edu/careers-in-medicine-goals-realized-through-the-citadels-pre-health-opportunities/ Mon, 16 May 2022 21:50:25 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=31942 "I think medicine is one of the most humbling professions and I’m excited at the prospect of building relationships and serving those around me."]]>

Photo above: Lt. Fernando Gonzalez, USN, The Citadel Class of 2016 seen second from the left, and Cpt. Dillon Graham, USAF, The Citadel Class of ’17, pictured fifth from the left pose with their classmates at the University of South Carolina Greenville Medical School graduation on May 6, 2022. Photo credit: Dr. Sarah Imam, The Citadel.

Two military doctors, an Air Force medical student and an Army nurse: all becoming servant leaders in medicine

The Citadel Director of Health Sciences, Sarah A. Imam, M.D., had two reasons to attend the University of South Carolina Greenville Medical School graduation. Drs. Fernando Gonzalez, The Citadel Class of 2016 and Dillon Graham, ’17, both completed the shared career goal of becoming medical doctors.

“It’s been an absolute pleasure being a part Fernando Gonzalez’s journey to becoming a doctor. He was a student and advisee of mine while he was a cadet at The Citadel, graduating in 2016. Now he is a medical school graduate, finishing in May, and is off to an Emergency Medicine Residency in Virginia in addition to serving in The United States Navy Reserve as a medical officer,” Imam shared following the ceremony.

Additionally, Imam was on hand to congratulate Capt. Dillon Graham, The Citadel Class of 2017 Regimental Commander.

“Dillon is a new medical doctor and a newlywed. His next step is going to a surgery residency in Greenville in addition to his promotion to captain in the Air Force. It was an exciting day and The Citadel was very well represented,” Imam added.

Every year cadets graduate from The Citadel to go on to medical school, becoming nurses, physician’s assistants or physical therapists. Imam says the college provides four years of pre-health guidance to help the cadets realize those goals.

“One of our Class of 2022 cadets who was a business major is going to medical school. Though biology might be a common pre-med major, is important to understand you can be any major and still go into medicine,” Imam stressed. “At The Citadel, we normally have 60 to 70 pre-health cadets with a variety of majors, plus our nursing majors. We make sure all cadets interested in health careers are accurately advised.”

Programs are in place at The Citadel where the cadets and students “simply have to be engaged in the two health career clubs to gain all the competencies that are needed to be considered for competitive medical programs after graduation,” Imam said.

Some of the benefits for cadets and students participating in The Citadel’s Pre-Health Society and Alpha Epsilon Delta, The Health Preprofessional Honor Society, include:

  • Discounted prep programs paid for with regular tuition (or GI Bill funds for veteran students)
  • Scholarships
  • Research opportunities
  • Mentor and job shadowing matches
  • Healthcare study abroad service experience
  • Organized and vetted volunteering opportunities

“These opportunities are carefully curated for the cadets and students to make their path to medicine a direct one,” Imam said.

Read about other Corps alumni who are successfully entering medical service below and here.

2nd Lt. Bennett Lucas, ’22, a U.S. Air Force-funded medical student

His service to others while a member of the South Carolina Corps of Cadets included serving as Alpha Company Commander. Now, 2nd Lt. Bennett Lucas’s service to country is getting underway as the recipient of a coveted Air Force Health Professional Scholarship Program (HPSP) slot. The program covers his tuition at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine: Columbia along with living expenses, with his commitment to serve as a medical officer for at least four years after that.

Lucas’s classmate, Cadet Olivia Hime, also bound for medical school, asked him and their peer, Malcom Jackson (below), a few questions about their experiences to date.

Cadet Bennett Lucas, The Citadel Class of 2022

Where are you from?

I am from Lexington, South Carolina. The most unique part of Lexington is that it has the “small-town” feel, but is close to the capital city of Columbia, as well as being a short drive to the beach or to the mountains. My family had land growing up and raised horses and chickens, so there was always plenty of work to be done as a kid.

What was the best part of being a cadet at The Citadel?

I think the best part of being a cadet is the relationships that you build. Whether it is with classmates or faculty members, The Citadel’s campus community is a really close one. This unique aspect has helped me in countless ways.

What inspired you to pursue a career in medicine? What do you plan to specialize in?

I decided to pursue medicine after an introductory Health Science course in high school. Since then, I have shadowed and had internships with many physicians who have guided me in pursuing this career path. I want to be a physician simply because I love people.

During my junior year as a First Sergeant in Sierra Company, a cadet fell over a third floor railing onto the quad. She was in my company, and I was one of the first people to rush to her side. Along with a few other cadets, we were able to stabilize her, and I called for an ambulance. I followed her to the hospital and stayed in the waiting room of the ER until her parents were able to meet us there. It was one of the most traumatic and impactful experiences I have had in my life and pushed me to continue pursuing a career as a physician.

I think medicine is one of the most humbling professions, and I’m excited at the prospect of building relationships and serving those around me. I plan on specializing in either cardiovascular or general surgery. I want to use my hands to serve those in critical need.

What is the hardest obstacle you overcame at The Citadel? In your journey to practice medicine?

The hardest obstacle I overcame while at The Citadel and in my journey to practice medicine was taking the MCAT. I took the test for the first time in January of my junior year. I didn’t put nearly enough time into preparing for the exam and my score reflected that. It was a huge setback and made me really question whether I had what it took to get into medical school. I used that experience as a motivator to study and prepare to take the MCAT again. After a second attempt, I scored high enough to get into medical school. What I thought would be a huge setback and obstacle turned into a motivator that I used to push myself toward success.

What do you like the most about the medical field? Is there anything you feel needs improvement?

I love that I can work hard to be prepared to help people who can’t help themselves. If I could change one thing about the medical field, it would be the medical disparities present in low-income areas. Especially in South Carolina, there are many places and people who don’t have access to sufficient healthcare. This should be considered a right, available to all regardless of socioeconomic status or class.

What is something you learned at The Citadel that you will take with you?

One thing I learned at The Citadel is that stress is artificial. Stress is an internal reaction to external factors, and it is up to you to decide whether or not you’re going to let things turn into stress.

What advice would you give someone following in your footsteps?

I would tell them to never stop putting yourself out there. Go for the positions of greater responsibility, apply for the internship you don’t think you’ll get and take chances. You’ll never be successful or achieve your highest potential unless you aim high. You’ll be amazed at the pieces that fall into place when you try. The worst that can happen is you get told no.

2nd Lt. Malcolm Jackson, ’22, Army nurse focused on caring for military families and veterans

Nursing Cadet Malcolm Jackson poses for a portrait in Stevens Barracks at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina on April 12, 2021.

Tell us about your hometown

I’m from Bloomingdale, Georgia. It is a smaller city that is often overshadowed by its neighboring city, Savannah. Growing up in this area was unique in that it provided me with a diverse and geographically complex environment. Many athletic camps and summer programs I attended were hosted in the city of Savannah, while I grew up and attended school in the countryside.

What was the best part of being a cadet at The Citadel?

The best part of being a cadet at The Citadel was the challenges that I had to overcome to progress and grow my cadet career. I was raised to never quit and readily accept challenges, which often helped me develop my overall character, demeanor and discipline.

What inspired you to pursue a career in medicine? Are you planning to specialize in one area?

My family was the biggest influence on my career choice. My sister and my aunts were constantly beacons of success and happiness in their nursing careers. In my senior year of high school, I often visited and cared for my great-grandfather, which also pushed me to choose a medical profession that would have the most patient-practitioner interaction. I am grateful for the relationship I developed with my great-grandfather as a result of the care I provided him. This, along with the opportunities to learn and practice medicine, cemented nursing as my desired career of choice.

I plan on specializing in Psychiatry or Critical Care for active duty, veterans, their families and the surrounding communities. I understand that mental health is at a critical point in today’s society and we need support for our armed services. This is where I believe I can have a profound impact on people’s lives.

What was the hardest obstacle you overcame at The Citadel? In your journey to practice medicine?

The most difficult obstacle I overcame at the Citadel was my own complacency. My sophomore year roommate, along with my parents, motivated me to make the most of the opportunities provided at The Citadel. In my journey to practice medicine, the largest obstacle is the uncertainty that comes with inexperience and building confidence to an extent where you can actively recollect and apply knowledge from the classroom.

What do you like the most about the medical field? Is there anything you feel needs improvement?

What I like most is the ample opportunity to improve the lives of patients in different areas of healthcare practice. If there was anything to improve, that which is most important to me would be the regulation of nurse to patient ratio designed by governing boards of nursing professionals.

What is something you learned at The Citadel that you will take with you?

I’ve learned many concepts and takeaways that I’ve adopted into my way of thinking. Of these, I will always remember to lead without recourse. This means doing the right thing even when no one is looking and ensures a confident leader who will navigate morally and ethically through any adverse situation.

What is your next step?

After graduating from The Citadel I will study for my NCLEX and, after passing, proceed to my Basic Officer Leader Course in San Antonio, Texas. Ideally, I would like to be stationed in Washington D.C. to work at Walter Reed Hospital. I feel this would be a great learning opportunity and work environment.

What advice would you give someone following in your footsteps?

My only advice is to put your heart into everything you do. If you put your effort and care into your tasks, obligations or job, you will gain from it in one way or another. One of the most underappreciated gifts is often character development. We are growing as long as we live. Our only limit is what we place on ourselves.

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Heading out to help heal https://today.citadel.edu/heading-out-to-help-heal/ Thu, 12 May 2022 10:00:00 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=31992 Class of 2022 nursing graduates post for a photograph after their pinning ceremony on May 5, 2022, in Summerall Chapel on campusClass of 2022 nursing graduates post for a photograph after their pinning ceremony on May 5, 2022, in Summerall Chapel on campusThe Swain Department of Nursing is recognizing its fourth graduating class, celebrating the graduation of 15 cadets and 12 non-cadet students.]]> Class of 2022 nursing graduates post for a photograph after their pinning ceremony on May 5, 2022, in Summerall Chapel on campusClass of 2022 nursing graduates post for a photograph after their pinning ceremony on May 5, 2022, in Summerall Chapel on campus

Photo above: The Class of 2022 nursing graduates pose for a photograph after their pinning ceremony at Summerall Chapel on May 5, 2022

The Citadel Swain Department of Nursing graduates 29 future nurses

The Swain Department of Nursing is recognizing its fourth graduating class.

On May 5, the department’s Class of 2022 received their nursing pins during a traditional pinning ceremony in the college’s Summerall Chapel. Presenting new nurses with a pin or badge dates back centuries. At The Citadel, the pin is presented after a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree is earned.

Cadet Reanna Wrecsics, The Citadel Class of 2022, poses for a photo with nursing professor, Linda Edgerton, during the Swain Department of Nursing Pinning Ceremony in Summerall Chapel on May 5, 2022.

I am very proud of where I am today. It took hard work and determination. I have family members who are nurses and I did not want to do anything else. I’d recommend attending The Citadel for the nursing program, and for the Division 1 Track and Field team!

Cadet-athlete Reanna Wrecsics, The Citadel Class of 2022, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, from Chapin, South Carolina

There are 15 cadets and 12 evening (non-cadet) nursing graduates in the group.

Thashemina Mekel Brown, seen on the left, Class of 2022 nursing evening program graduate, poses for a photograph with nursing professor, Holly Donahue, on May 5, 2022, in Summerall Chapel on campus.

The Citadel’s evening nursing program was perfect for me as a working person with a family. I am looking forward to my new nursing job with Novant Health in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Thashemia Brown, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, The Citadel Graduate College Class of 2022

The guest speaker for the ceremony served as the Surgeon General, Headquarters, for the U.S. Air Force, Pentagon and also served as the first Surgeon General of the U.S. Space Force before recently retiring.

“You can help lead the change where you work. You are at the bedside 24/7. You’ll know what works and what doesn’t. As nursing leaders you will be learning throughout your entire career. You will provide the evidence and lead when change is needed,”said Lt. Gen. Dorothy A. Hogg, USAF (Ret.), the pinning ceremony speaker.

The Citadel launched its nursing program in 2017, earning national accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education in 2019 and graduating the inaugural class of nursing cadets and students in May of 2019.

South Carolina Corps of Cadets Class of 2022 nursing graduates

The South Carolina Corps of Cadets Class of 2022 Bachelor of Science in Nursing graduates posing for a photograph in Summerall Chapel after the Nurse Pinning Ceremony on May 5, 2022.

Joel Joseph Tropezado Baslot (Outstanding Students in Nursing Award)
Shelby Ruth Brooks
Ademar Yarial Cubero
Mya Monaye Dollard
Cameron Taylor Fuller (Lisa Whetstone Caring Award)
Trenton James Gambrell
Dahrel Ghazaleh
Malcolm Jackson (Nursing Research and Scholarship; Outstanding Students in Nursing Award)
Addison Shaw Jeffcoat
NIcholas Owens
Kevin Pham
Karrina Tremblay
Aaron Royce Tyler
Reanna Janine Wrecsics
Isabella Domeica Yates

The Citadel Graduate College Class of 2022 Bachelor Science in Nursing graduates


The Citadel Graduate College Class of 2022 Bachelor of Science in nursing graduates (evening program)

Renae Towcimak (Outstanding Students in Nursing Award)
Seung David Baek (Nursing Leadership Award)
Thashemia Mekel Brown
Michaela Halli Caron
Sarah Ghaffari
Alexis Knapp
Mallory Sandra Lipton
Tameka McCullough
Akeisha Patel
Emily Spielvogel
Amy Thompson
Nicholas Tupper
McKenna Jeanne Vergnolle

Learn more about studying nursing at The Citadel as a cadet or in the non-cadet evening program by visiting this website. Sending questions to nursing@citadel.edu.

The Citadel nursing pin
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The Citadel Dept. of Defense Cyber Institute cadets and faculty mentors earn two of three awards at first joint SMC event https://today.citadel.edu/the-citadel-dept-of-defense-cyber-institute-cadets-and-faculty-mentors-earn-two-of-three-awards-at-first-joint-smc-event/ Fri, 22 Apr 2022 23:35:17 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=31758 Cyberspace is a battlefield and the adversary is always out there. We need you defending our country in the cyber environment.]]>

And Citadel team places second out of ten colleges in NWIC (Atlantic) cyber defense competition

Photo above, left to right: Cadet Slaltean Frederick, Dr. Shankar Banik, and Cadets Shiloh Smiles and Jared Johnson posing with their awards at the inaugural conference on Cybersecurity Research in Undergraduate Programs held at Norwich University.

Just as The Citadel cybersecurity programs and initiatives continued to grow this academic year, cadets in the program expanded their skills and experiences through cyber defense competitions, their work with The Citadel Department of Defense Cyber Institute, the college’s CyberCorps Scholarships for Service program and, for the seniors, planning for the next stage of their careers by accepting positions as cyber defense professionals.

A highlight of the spring semester was the first gathering of cadets from America’s six Senior Military Colleges who are participating in their school’s Department of Defense Cyber Institute. It was hosted by Norwich University in early April.

The inaugural conference on Cybersecurity Research in Undergraduate Programs (CyRUP) was a collaborative effort between the military colleges who are jointly dedicated to advancing cybersecurity research and to developing research opportunities for undergraduate students. Cadets from The Citadel, the University of North Georgia, Texas A&M, Virginia Military Institute, Virginia Tech and Norwich University, as well as professionals from U.S. Cyber Forces, gathered to learn more about current research interests and what is coming next in cybersecurity.

The Citadel earned two of the three awards presented at the conference. The Best Paper Award went to cadets Jared Johnson, Eric Lilling and their faculty mentors, Drs. Shankar Banik and Deepti Joshi, for “Efficient Phishing Detection using Email DNA.”

The Best Presentation Award was earned by cadets Slateon Frederick, Jessica Roginski, Shiloh Smiles, Noah Wells and Banik, their faculty mentor. The presentation title: “Context Aware Access Control for Internet of Things (IoT) Network.”

Other cybersecurity news from The Citadel: cadet team takes 2nd place in college division at NIWC cyber defense competition

The Citadel Cybersecurity competition team during the Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic  2022 Palmetto Cyber Defense Competition
The Citadel cybersecurity competition team posing for a photo after earning second place in the Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic 2022 Palmetto Cyber Defense Competition

The Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic hosted the 2022 Palmetto Cyber Defense Competition this spring. The three day event included a competition between 10 colleges. The Citadel team earned second place, just behind Clemson. The cadet participants were: Jared Johnson, Ben Race, Robert Roser, Shiloh Smiles, Trey Stevens and Noah Wells.

Additionally, The Citadel’s cybersecurity programs director, Shankar Banik, Ph.D., provided a keynote address during the three day event.

This kind of experience will give you an edge and a platform to apply your skillsets to a real-world situation. A degree is one thing, a certification is one thing, but learning in this way — how to do the critical work of hardening systems and testing your skills — is invaluable.

Cyberspace is a battlefield and the adversary is always out there. Students like you give us hope and we need you defending our country in the cyber environment.

Dr. Shankar Banik, professor and Graduate Program director of Computer Science, co-director for the Center for Cyber, Intelligence and Security Studies at The Citadel

Read more about the event here.

Dr. Shankar Banik, professor and Graduate Program director of Computer Science, Co-director for the Center for Cyber, Intelligence and Security Studies at The Citadel, speaking to high school competitors during the Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic 2022 Palmetto Cyber Defense Competition
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With summer just around the corner, urban heat island effect is something to consider https://today.citadel.edu/with-summer-just-around-the-corner-urban-heat-island-effect-is-something-to-consider/ Tue, 19 Apr 2022 13:59:56 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=31567 "We learned the hottest urban heat island areas, in the deep red on the map, are often the most population dense and are as much as 11.1 degrees warmer than neighboring areas on a sweltering summer day."]]>

Learnings from my undergraduate research experience

By Cadet Emma Larsen, The Citadel Class of 2022, Civil and Environmental Engineering major

I was recently introduced to the urban heat island effect, the occurrence of an overall higher temperature being documented in urban areas compared to their rural counterparts, through The Citadel’s Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE).

Much of this temperature difference is a result of infrastructure factors of materials — including asphalt and concrete — absorbing and re-emitting the sun’s rays, urban geometry trapping the energy within the confines of the urban boundary, and large amounts of movement and activity in a small area (roadways) causing an abundance of heat waste. The urban heat island effect directly impacts Charleston, South Carolina, my home for 11 years, piquing my interest.

I wanted to participate in research that is important to my family and me. Additionally, as an undergraduate Civil Engineering major, I was interested in learning more about extreme heat variances to help fellow cadets survive the Charleston heat as we wear grey woolen uniforms and stand outside for hours for our military dress parades and practices. So, I began engaging with HeatWatch through the SURE program and the Near Center for Climate Studies at The Citadel.

HeatWatch is an ongoing, national effort to record temperature and humidity in participating cities on a single day to see how they vary from one area of a city to the next. Through this effort, the data collected about heat within cities around the U.S. can be formed into maps visualizing how the temperature varies throughout the urban area, how the layout of the structures causes this variation and which communities are most vulnerable.

The national HeatWatch campaign is coordinated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and CAPA Strategies, a climate research and data collection company. They provide devices that are heat sensors to local companies, colleges, organizations and volunteers within selected cities to conduct the data collection campaigns themselves, contributing the results to the national project and to local agencies that will find it helpful.

For Charleston, the head of this campaign was Dr. Janice Barnes, of Climate Adaptation Partners. She led a group of local organizations including The Citadel’s James B. Near Center for Climate Studies, the City of Charleston, the Medical University of South Carolina Arboretum, the Institute for Air Quality Studies and Office of Health Promotion, Charleston Resilience Network, Charleston Medical District, South Carolina Interfaith Power and Light, and Carolinas Integrated Science Assessment.

On our assigned collection day, July 31, 2021, about 30 people were needed to drive throughout the city on preplanned routes with the provided heat sensors on their cars to gather the data including temperatures and locations. While members of the organizations participated in the data collection, most volunteers were members of the community interested in helping discover more about Charleston’s urban heat impacts.

This temperature map, released as part of a report months after our data collection day, displays the results of our combined efforts. We learned the hottest urban heat island areas, in the deep red on the map, are often the most population dense and are as much as 11.1 degrees warmer than neighboring areas on a sweltering summer day.

Working with the HeatWatch effort allow me to participate in paid undergraduate research through our SURE program and it offered a highly unique experience of partaking in a much larger, national endeavor.

I was able to interact with Dr. Barnes, who involved those of us representing The Citadel in the planning, video conference calls, organizational emails, volunteer recruiting efforts and the day of data collection for Charleston HeatWatch. On collection day, I was one of the volunteers driving in my car on a pre-planned route of the city with a heat index sensor attached to my window. For my experience in participatory learning, in addition to the in-depth learning I achieved from my research, I gained experience with major project planning, learned how a multi-company endeavor is planned and coordinated, and saw how global climate issues can be addressed within a community.

After being encouraged to read and study deeply into a topic, I have understood more about the urban heat island effect than I could have learned in a regular class. The SURE program created a community of professors and students interested in studying beyond the expected curriculum and encouraged active participation instead of passive. There were not any tests or exams that created parameters of what I was supposed to know. Instead, this is an educational experience without limits, where students are given room to teach themselves and become subject matter experts on a topic. Overall, my research experience made me see the city in a different light and made me more aware of how small design choices around me are directly affecting the climate. I am going to take these experiences with me as I am writing an academic journal article about participatory learning and pursuing a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering.

Now, as I approach graduation this May and with summer just around the corner, I am considering the urban heat effect that will affect so many people in our Charleston community. I hope that my future career as an engineer will include being able to help make a difference in mitigating some of the negative impacts of climate change on local communities.

Cadet Emma Larsen is a Civil and Environmental Engineering major from Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.

Read the full report resulting from the Charleston HeatWatch team’s work at this link.

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From knob to nurse, Second Lt. Catherine Hill serves Charleston and America by living her dream https://today.citadel.edu/from-knob-to-nurse-second-lt-catherine-hill-serves-charleston-and-america-by-living-her-dream/ Wed, 23 Mar 2022 10:00:00 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=25354 2nd. Lt. Catherine Hill, The Citadel Class of 2021, receives her diploma at graduation from her father, Lt. Col. Rustin Hill, '90The Citadel Class of2nd. Lt. Catherine Hill, The Citadel Class of 2021, receives her diploma at graduation from her father, Lt. Col. Rustin Hill, '90The Citadel Class of"All nurses lead whether at the bedside, in the community, or at hospitals. Catherine Hill is most certainly doing that."]]> 2nd. Lt. Catherine Hill, The Citadel Class of 2021, receives her diploma at graduation from her father, Lt. Col. Rustin Hill, '90The Citadel Class of2nd. Lt. Catherine Hill, The Citadel Class of 2021, receives her diploma at graduation from her father, Lt. Col. Rustin Hill, '90The Citadel Class of

Photo above: Second Lieutenant Catherine Hill, The Citadel Class of 2021, receives her diploma at graduation from her father, Lt. Col. Rustin Hill, The Citadel Class of 1990, during the South Carolina Corps of Cadets commencement ceremony in May 2021.

“I would choose The Citadel all over again”

For as long as she could remember, Catherine Hill wanted to be a nurse

That was how her story began at The Citadel, when Hill matriculated as a knob in August of 2017 from her home in North Garden, Virginia. She entered college with an Army scholarship and a declaration to major in nursing — military service, nursing and attending The Citadel, all traditions in her family.

Now, Second Lt. Catherine Hill, The Citadel Class of 2021, is living her dream. Like many in her family, she is serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. She is a a reservist for the Army Nurse Corps.

Hill’s fulltime role is serving young patients and their families as a nurse at MUSC Shawn Jenkin’s Children’s Hospital.

“While The Citadel is developing principled leaders, our nursing program is growing the next generation of nurse leaders,” said Lenora S. Horton, Ph.D., an instructor with The Citadel’s Swain Department of Nursing. “Second Lieutenant Catherine Hill clearly exemplifies the highly desirable traits of a leader who lives by the values of honor, duty and respect. All nurses lead whether at the bedside, in the community or at hospitals. Catherine is most certainly doing that.”

Catherine Hill, while a cadet, administering a COVID-19 vaccine to a member of The Citadel staff during a clinic at McAlister Field House at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina on Wednesday, March 24, 2021.

After graduating, and while preparing for her nursing board examination, Hill took the time to answer these questions.

Q. What is the one thing you miss the most about The Citadel?

A. It goes without saying that The Citadel experience isn’t just about the place, it’s about the people that you get to see everyday. I will miss the memories I have made with all my friends and the endless laugher you can hear in the barracks of cadets enjoying their time together. I will miss all the people that I have become closer with nursing program and hope to see them again soon. 

Q. What do you miss the least about The Citadel?

A. I definitely do not miss 6 a.m. formations. 

Q. Who is the one person at The Citadel who had the most positive impact on your time here and why?

A. I would have to say that my brother 2nd Lt. Russ Hill (Rustin Hill II), who graduated in 2020, had the most positive impact on my time at The Citadel. Although he graduated last year, he taught me a lot throughout my time here at school. He taught me to stand up for myself and to never be ashamed of the person I am. He always looked out for me and was never afraid to stand up for me. I was fortunate enough to get to live in the same battalion as him, and because of that we now share so many memories that we will tell as we get older. The best advice he gave me was that if I could find humor and laugh at any hard situation in life that came my way, I would always win. 

Cadet Catherine Hill with her older brother, Russ Hill. Provided by Catherine.

Q. How has your mindset changed since studying, and then starting your career in nursing during one of history’s worst pandemics?

It was inspiring, especially, to watch my Mom working as a nurse during the pandemic while finishing my degree at The Citadel. If anything, the pandemic has made me love nursing even more. Nursing is truly a selfless career path. 

One of my top memories while training at The Citadel to become a nurse was helping people on campus during the pandemic. As senior nursing students we were honored to be asked to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. Our nursing instructor said it best, ‘we are making history getting to distribute the vaccine to the faculty and staff at The Citadel.’ As as a nation we patiently but anxiously waited for a vaccine to come out with the hopes that one day we would return to normal. Having the opportunity to administer the COVID-19 vaccine seems like a small role, however, it was truly an honor to be a part of the solution to this crisis.

2nd Lt. Catherine Hill, fall 2021

Q. What advice do you have for young people considering a nursing degree?

I have two pieces of advice to those who are seeking to pursue a nursing degree.

One. Make sure you are choosing to become a nurse because you genuinely love taking care of others not because of the pay. You will play a vital role in tough situations and you have to possess the ability to be empathic and put yourself in someone else’s shoes. It is incredibly challenging but also the most rewarding thing you will ever do. It truly is a blessing to stand by a patient’s side and watch as they make a full recovery and also be that person to hold their hand when they don’t.

My second piece of advice is to make friends with the other people in your nursing program. Nursing is collaborative and deals a lot with working alongside others. Becoming close with a group of your fellow nursing students will enhance your experience in nursing school through the tough times as well as learn to collaborate with others. I had had the ability to become very close with my nursing peers as there were only eight of us. We were a very tight group, taking the same classes and studying for tests together for four years. They have made this experience one that I will never forget and I am thankful for them. 

More about the Swain Department of Nursing

The Swain Department of Nursing expects to have 22 nurses graduating as part of the Class of 2022 on May 7. A traditional Nurse Pinning Ceremony will be held at 3:30 p.m. on May 5 at Summerall Chapel to honor the graduates and recognize their dedication toward completing their degrees and their commitment to serve as nurses in the future. The group will be addressed by Lt. Gen. Dorothy A. Hogg, USAF (Ret.), the former Surgeon General, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Pentagon.

The mission of the Nursing Program is to educate and develop cadets and students to become principled leaders in the healthcare environment and profession of nursing by incorporating The Citadels core values of honor, duty and respect into the learning experience.

For more information about studying nursing as a member of the South Carolina Corps of Cadets, or as a non-cadet, evening undergraduate, please visit the Swain Department of Nursing web section here, email nursing@citadel.edu, or call (843) 953-1630.

The Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at The Citadel is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

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Cybersecurity cadet mentors AFJROTC cyber team, helping lead them to #1 in SC, and now a national competition https://today.citadel.edu/cybersecurity-cadet-mentors-afjrotc-cyber-team-helping-lead-them-to-1-in-sc-and-now-a-national-competition/ Wed, 16 Mar 2022 20:41:43 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=29897 Ashley Ridge High School Air Force JROTC Cyber competition team being trained in lab by Citadel Cadet Trey StephensAshley Ridge High School Air Force JROTC Cyber competition team being trained in lab by Citadel Cadet Trey Stephens"It's really been great to have the leadership of Cadet Stephens, and now the other Citadel cadets who are engaging to help the Ashley Ridge High School cyber team continue to grow and thrive."]]> Ashley Ridge High School Air Force JROTC Cyber competition team being trained in lab by Citadel Cadet Trey StephensAshley Ridge High School Air Force JROTC Cyber competition team being trained in lab by Citadel Cadet Trey Stephens

Photo above: Citadel Cadet Trey Stevens (far left), with members of the Ashley Ridge High School Air Force JROTC cybersecurity competition team training in the high school’s lab.

Ashley Ridge High School’s JROTC Cybersecurity team competing in Maryland

A senior cadet who is a quadruple major heard about a need and stepped up to meet the challenge. Cadet Trey Stevens is majoring in Computer Science, Cybersecurity Operations, Intelligence and Security Studies, and Criminal Justice. He is studying as part of the first group of cadets with The Citadel Department of Defense Cyber Institute, and will be working with the Department of Defense after graduating in May.

Stevens learned that Ashley Ridge High School’s Air Force JROTC (AFJROTC) wanted to start a cybersecurity team to help expand interest in the field as the country’s need for cyber defenders continues to escalate. He met with the head of the unit there and set up weekly training sessions for the students.

About eight months later, the high school’s Swampfox AFJROTC Cyber Team — that Stevens helped develop and mentors — is surpassing all expectations. The Dorchester County high schoolers earned their way to the top in South Carolina, placing first in the state’s Platinum Tier overall in the All-Service Division. Now they are competing in CyberPatriot XIV—the fourteenth season of the Air Force Association’s National Youth Cyber Defense Competition, held March 17 – 21 in Bethesda, Maryland.

“The Swampfox team could hardly believe it when they realized they qualified for the nationals,” Stevens said after receiving the brackets for the final competitors.

Stevens, along with two other Citadel cadets who will take over as mentors next year, some of the Ashley Ridge cyber team and their AFJROTC unit leader, Major Bill Clark III, a Senior Aerospace Science Instructor, are in Maryland for the event after fall competitions narrowed the field from several hundred down to 28 finalists. The team’s travel expenses are all being covered by the competition.

“The students worked incredibly hard to make getting to a national competition a reality,” said Stevens. “Not all of the team member could travel to Maryland, but most will be able to take part in the next competition for the Ashley Ridge Swampfox JROTC Cyber Team which is the Palmetto Cyber Defense Competition on April 4 in North Charleston, much closer to home.”

The students on the Ashley Ridge Swampfox JROTC Cyber Team include:

  • Russell Brady – Unit Commander
  • Caleb Huckabee – Unit Commander
  • Emma Huckabee
  • Jade Benesh
  • Mikayla Benesh
  • Jean Lim
  • Jacob Kramer
  • Lindsay Shuford
  • J’Metrius Stanley

The Ashley Ridge cyber team visited The Citadel over their holiday break, practicing inside a lab on campus to get experience in a different venue.

Citadel Cadet Trey Stevens (left) with member of the Ashley Ridge High School Air Force JROTC cybersecurity competition team and one of their upcoming mentors for 2022-23, Citadel Cadet Dalton Hazelwood, posting for a photo in December when the high school team visited The Citadel campus in Charleston, South Carolina.

The two cadets besides Stevens accompanying the Foxswamp team in Maryland, Dalton Hazelwood and George Poleski, will be taking over as mentors for the incoming students who will begin training with the Ashley Ridge AFJROTC cyber team in the fall.

“It’s really been great to have the leadership of Cadet Stevens, and now the other Citadel cadets who are engaging to help the Ashley Ridge High School cyber team continue to grow and thrive,” said Major Clark. “Our high school AFJOTC cadets look up to The Citadel cadets and see a possible path for their futures.”

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Dr. John Palms, ’58, honored by The Citadel’s Krause Center for Leadership and Ethics https://today.citadel.edu/dr-john-palms-58-honored-by-the-citadels-krause-center-for-leadership-and-ethics/ Mon, 07 Mar 2022 19:47:25 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=30927 The South Carolina Corps of Cadets participates in awards review on Summerall Field in Charleston, South Carolina on Friday, March 4, 2022. Credit: Cameron Pollack / The CitadelThe South Carolina Corps of Cadets participates in awards review on Summerall Field in Charleston, South Carolina on Friday, March 4, 2022. Credit: Cameron Pollack / The Citadel"We are very excited to honor and recognize Dr. John Palms as the 2020 recipient of the Krause Center for Leadership & Ethics award..."]]> The South Carolina Corps of Cadets participates in awards review on Summerall Field in Charleston, South Carolina on Friday, March 4, 2022. Credit: Cameron Pollack / The CitadelThe South Carolina Corps of Cadets participates in awards review on Summerall Field in Charleston, South Carolina on Friday, March 4, 2022. Credit: Cameron Pollack / The Citadel

Palms, former president of the University of South Carolina, honored during his alma mater’s military review parade

Photo above, left to right: Dr. John Palms, The Citadel Class of 1958, recipient of the Krause Center Award for Distinguished Service, Leadership and Ethics, stands beside The Citadel Commandant of Cadets, Col. Thomas J. Gordon, USMC (Ret.), during the national anthem, to take review of the South Carolina Corps of Cadets military parade dedicated to Palms on March 4, 2022.

The Krause Center for Leadership and Ethics at The Citadel strives to create opportunities for leadership development, in support of the college’s mission to education and develop principled leaders. Additionally, the Krause Center works to recognize outstanding principled leaders from within the ranks of Citadel alumni.

Due to a pandemic-forced pause in the schedule, Dr. John M. Palms was recognized as the 2020 recipient of the Krause Center Award for Distinguished Service, Leadership and Ethics during the South Carolina Corps of Cadets’ dress parade on campus March 4, 2022.

“We are very excited to honor and recognize Dr. John Palms as the 2020 recipient of the Krause Center for Leadership & Ethics award for his service as a military officer, nuclear scientist, professor and President of the University of South Carolina which is unparalleled among the list of distinguished Citadel alumni,” said Bill Krause.

Palms was nominated for the 2020 award by The Citadel Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer and by the Dean for the Swain Family School of Science and Mathematics in 2019.

It is my distinct privilege to present the nomination of Dr. John M. Palms, ’58, for the Krause Center Award for Distinguished Service, Leadership and Ethics. An internationally recognized scientist and academician, national security advisor, eminent educator and public servant, distinguished Citadel graduate, and tireless advocate for humanitarian causes, Dr. Palms exemplifies, to the highest degree, the ethos of the Krause Award and the essence of servant leadership. His is the story of a life well-lived, a man running to win the prize for the upward calling.

Darin T. Zimmerman, Ph.D., Dean of The Citadel Swain Family School of Sciences and Mathematics

According to Zimmerman’s nomination, Palms was born in the Netherlands and immigrated to the U.S. in 1951, becoming a citizen in 1956. He graduated with a degree in Physics from The Citadel as a distinguished Air Force ROTC cadet in 1958, receiving a commission into the U.S. Air Force (USAF). While on active duty with the USAF, Palms completed a master’s degree in physics, served as a nuclear weapons officer and taught physics at the Air Force Academy. After being honorably discharged in 1970, Palms completed a Ph.D. in physics and joined the faculty of Emory University, where he rose through the ranks, ultimately being appointed as the Charles Howard Chandler Professor of Radiation and Environmental Physics. Palms’ 23-year career at Emory was one of ever-increasing responsibility and leadership, culminating in his role as the university’s chief academic officer. This accumulated experience led to a two-year turn as president of Georgia State University, after which he accepted the invitation to become the 26th president of the University of South Carolina, a post which he served faithfully and fruitfully for 12 years.

Left to right: Col. Tom Clark, USMC (Ret.), Executive Director for the Krause Center for Leadership and Ethics, congratulates Dr. John Palms, ’58, recipient of the Krause Center Award for Distinguished Service, Leadership and Ethics, on March 4, 2022, during the South Carolina Corps of Cadets military parade March 4 on campus in Charleston, South Carolina.

To complete his remarkably successful career, he presided as director of governing boards for several national corporations. He has scholarships named in his honor at Purdue University and Linn State Technical College, as well as a science research facility bearing his name at the University of South Carolina.

Jay Dowd, III, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer, The Citadel Foundation

According to Dowd’s letter of nomination, Palms has been awarded honorary doctoral degrees from several institutions of higher education, including The Citadel in 1980 and the University of South Carolina in 2002. He has received the Distinguished Alumni Award from two of the institutions from which he holds degrees—the University of New Mexico in 2003 and The Citadel in 2009. In 2002, he received the Order of the Palmetto, the highest honor bestowed by the State of South Carolina.

Other recipients of the Krause Center Award for Distinguished Service, Leadership and Ethics, which was initiated in 2011, include Col. Myron C. Harrington Jr., ’60; Lt. Gen. Mike Steele, ’67; Dr. Stephen Sittnick, ’77; Sen. Fritz Hollings, ’42; former Charleston major (now Citadel professor) Joseph P. Riley Jr., ’64; William B. Sansom, ’64; Gen. William W. Hartzog, ’63; W. Henry Johnson Jr., ’75 and Frank P. Mood, ’60.

John Palms, Ph.D. - Krause Award
John M. Palms, Ph.D., The Citadel Class of 1958, recipient of the Krause Center Award for Distinguished Service, Leadership and Ethics, 2020.

Read the full letter of nomination from The Citadel Foundation Chief Executive Officer here.

Read the full letter of nomination from the Dean of the Swain Family School of Science and Mathematics here.

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Gov. McMaster: Russian attack on Ukraine highlights need for stronger cybersecurity https://today.citadel.edu/gov-mcmaster-russian-attack-on-ukraine-highlights-need-for-stronger-cybersecurity/ Sun, 06 Mar 2022 11:00:00 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=30918 During a two-day conference at The Citadel, Lt. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, of U.S. Army Cyber Command, said growing cybersecurity resiliency and closing the cybersecurity gap]]>

Photo: Lt. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, commanding general of U.S. Army Cyber Command, speaking at The Citadel as part of the Jack Voltaic cyber conference on Feb. 24.

As seen on WCBD – Count on 2, by Riley Benson

Local, state, and federal leaders were discussing South Carolina’s cybersecurity defense as the crisis in Ukraine is unfolding.

State leaders, cadets and cybersecurity industry professionals are looking at the strengths and resiliency of South Carolina’s cybersecurity protection while addressing areas where improvements can be made.

Tensions continued to rise hours after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, prompting leaders here at home to double down on protection.

“If Russia pursues cyber-attacks against our companies, our critical infrastructure, we are prepared to respond,” said President Joe Biden.

Like the president, Governor Henry McMaster says putting an emphasis on increased cybersecurity is important for South Carolina’s businesses and residents.

“This is just as dangerous but it doesn’t involve a bomb,” said Gov. McMaster.

Cyber attacks are a growing threat in foreign countries. Gov. McMaster said the threat to businesses in the state is something that could cripple South Carolina if measures aren’t taken now to prevent cyber attacks.

“In Russia, India, and North Korea, they have a whole industry dedicated to conducting cyber-attacks,” says Governor McMaster.

During a two-day conference at The Citadel, the United States Army Commanding Lt. General Stephen Fogarty of the U.S. Army Cyber Command and other military leaders say growing cybersecurity resiliency and closing the cybersecurity gap is the best protection.

“The attack surface is huge because everybody has a device and the devices and things that we do on the internet is vulnerability,” says Col. Linda Riedel, Deputy Director for the Department of Defense’s Cyber Institute at The Citadel.

The cyberworld is a backbone of South Carolina’s future and remains a top priority among leaders as they keep their eyes on Ukraine.

“Everybody depends on it so we need to have people who understand it and can fix things and can make things and can go on offense as well as go on defense,” says Governor McMaster.

The two-day conference at The Citadel will run a second day on Friday with more presentations and briefings for the group of cadets and industry leaders.

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