HFC Cybersecurity professor named mentor of the year
Marrci Conner, who has taught cybersecurity at HFC for 10 years, was recently named Mentor of the Year by the Air Force Association’s (AFA) CyberPatriot, the National Youth Cyber Education Program.
For the past five years, Conner has been volunteering at Cass Technical High School in Detroit as a Technical Mentor, a cyber-knowledgeable individual who helps CyberPatriot coaches and students prepare for the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition.
National Youth Cyber Defense competition
This competition puts teams of high school and middle school students in the position of newly-hired IT professionals tasked with managing the network of a small company. Through a series of online competition rounds, teams are given a set of virtual operating systems and are tasked with finding and fixing cybersecurity vulnerabilities while maintaining critical services. The top teams in the nation earn all-expenses paid trips to Maryland for the National Finals competition, where they can earn national recognition and scholarships.
“It was quite unexpected and humbling,” said Conner.
Tamara Shoemaker, the co-founder of the MCISSE CyberPatriot Program’s Midwest Chapter, nominated Conner.
“I just can’t say enough good things about Marrci,” said Shoemaker. “She has not only donated her time to the Cass Tech CyberPatriot teams, but also got them a crowd-sourced resource library so that they could continue learning about cybersecurity even when she and her HFC colleague Katie Fitnzer aren’t at Cass Tech. Way to go, Marrci!”
Intrigued by cybersecurity
Conner has more than 15 years’ experience as an IT professional specializing in cybersecurity. At HFC, she teaches computer programming, digital forensics, and cybersecurity classes.
Conner earned her bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems (CIS) from the University of Detroit Mercy (UDM) and her MBA in Information Assurance (Cybersecurity) from Walsh College in Troy. She also has a Computer Information Systems Security Profession (CISSP-ISC2), Certified Ethical Hacking (CEH-EC Council), and CompTIA Network+ certifications.
“After completing my bachelor’s degree, I wanted to further my education in an area that complemented that degree. Cybersecurity was new at the time and seemed intriguing. Walsh was the first educational institution in the state of Michigan to offer a master’s degree in cybersecurity,” explained Conner.
Even though Conner was honored by being named Mentor of the Year, the best part of her job is watching her students become successful and “the satisfaction of making a difference in someone’s future.”