Cyber Day at Baylor to Feature Panel with Corporate IT Leaders, HackFest Event

Cyber Day graphic
Oct. 5, 2017

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month event focuses on understanding of existing, emerging cyber security threats

Media Contact: Lori Fogleman, 254-710-6275
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WACO, Texas (Oct. 5, 2017) – With October being Cybersecurity Awareness Month, Baylor University will welcome IT security leaders from IBM, Verizon, ForcePoint and Splunk for a discussion about “The New Wild West: Cybersecurity in the Age of Pervasive Technology” as part of Baylor’s first Cyber Day on Friday, Oct. 6.

The panel discussion will be held at 2 p.m. Friday in the Paul and Carol McClinton Auditorium (room 240) at the Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation, 1621 Third St.

Moderated by Jon Allen, assistant vice president and chief information security officer at Baylor, the panel will feature:

  • Nita Awatramani, senior manager of enterprise identity and access management at Verizon
  • Richard Barger, director of security research for Splunk
  • James Birmingham, vice president of data and insider threat security for ForcePoint
  • Christopher McCurdy, vice president of global security sales at IBM

Other IT executives from each corporation also will be in attendance.

At 6 p.m. Friday, the Cashion Academic Center will host a CyBear HackFest that will give people an inside-out look at genuine cybersecurity threats today.

The general user will experience a variety of different data-hacking methods in action so that they see these cyber threats from the perspective of the hacker. The expert track, held on the fifth floor of Cashion, will be a “king of the mountain” competition where teams work together to vanquish servers and conquer technological terrain in a quest to rule the network.

Allen believes that Cyber Day will provide important opportunities for students, staff and faculty to enhance their understanding of both existing and emerging cybersecurity threats.

“As more of our lives are lived online, the value of protecting critical data increases exponentially,” Allen said. “Cybercriminals are actively compiling databases of personal information that are being used for different types of illegal activities. Becoming more aware of the current threat environment will help everyone be safer online.”

Jeff Donahoo, Ph.D., professor of computer science in Baylor’s School of Engineering and Computer Science, also will be among the participants in Cyber Day and said increasing awareness of cyber threats will be of great benefit students, faculty and staff, and the general public.

“Just The HackFest, in particular, will be a great opportunity to get a hands-on perspective on the nuts and bolts of both cyber threats and cybersecurity,” Donahoo said.

In addition to the public events, CyberDay will include meetings with university administrators, deans and faculty who will have an opportunity to visit with these corporate leaders about the best way to prepare the next generation of cybersecurity professionals.

“Our programs must meet the standards demanded by industry across Baylor’s curriculum,” Donahoo said. “The opportunity to meet with these leading executives in cybersecurity will give our administration and faculty clear ideas for how to shape our programs going forward.”

Both the panel discussion and HackFest are free and open to the public. Program information and additional details are available on the Baylor ITS website at

Baylor Cyber Day is sponsored by Baylor Information Technology Services, department of computer science, Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations and the Baylor Intellectual Property Organization.


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.

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