Assistant professor of computer science Birhanu Eshete says he didn’t know what kind of response he’d get when fellow professor Di Ma asked if he’d try to get a student organization going to support their burgeoning cybersecurity program. So he started simple, sending out an email inquiry to gauge if there was any interest. Within a couple hours, he had seven responses from cybersecurity majors. In another week or so, Blue Bytes, UM-Dearborn’s first cybersecurity-focused student club, was officially a thing.
For Eshete, it’s all pretty satisfying to watch the students build-up their skills and coalesce so quickly into a tight-knit group. “It may sound surprising, but I also learn a lot from them,” Eshete says. “In our field, it’s hard to keep track of new developments because cybersecurity is such a dynamic discipline. So the students may have exposure to techniques that I have never tried before, and in those cases, they teach me. That’s a very good thing to do for any professor. You can teach as much as you know, based on your experience. But you’re always learning — including from your students.”