Two University of Arkansas at Little Rock leaders are slated to share their cybersecurity expertise during the annual Arkansas Cybersecurity Summit Oct. 5-6.
Dr. Philip Huff, assistant professor of cybersecurity, and Dr. Erin Finzer, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs, will both speak at the event along with important industry and government leaders, including Lee Watson, chairman and CEO of Forge Institute, U.S. Rep. French Hill, and Becky Passmore, a UA Little Rock adjunct computer science professor and cyber investigator at Kroll Industries.
This two-day VIP event will showcase the state’s unique approach to develop collective cyber defenses, statewide cyber programs, workforce initiatives, and amazing topics on global events and their effect on our national security.
Huff will speak at 3 p.m. Oct. 5. in “Fireside Chat: Partnerships for Securing IOT Systems.” Huff will talk about innovative solutions to improve the security of our nation’s critical infrastructure.
Finzer will join a panel discussion, “Scaling the Trusted Pipeline,” at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 6. She will join fellow panelists Anthony Owen of Code.org, Joe Rollins of Northwest Arkansas Council, Tina Moore of the Arkansas Department of Education, and Robert Baker, director of Starbase AR at Forge Institute, in a discussion of how Arkansas is uniquely positioned to grow its own trusted workforce in cybersecurity due to collaborative leadership among the Consortium for Cyber Innovation, the Arkansas Computer Science and Data Ecosystem, CyberLearn, the Arkansas Cyber Teaching Academy, and Data Analytics that are Robust and Trusted (DART) consortium.
The summit is expected to draw nearly 200 cybersecurity professionals across Arkansas in professional communities such as industry, critical infrastructure, academic, military, agency, and local and state government.
The event’s focus will be on developing Arkansas as the Cyber Defense State. Topics will include a series of insightful discussions from cyber risk management, to geo-political events’ effect on adversary targeting of our nation’s infrastructure, workforce, and beyond.
The summit is held by Forge Institute. As the nation’s leader in advancing cyber capabilities, Forge Institute hosts the Arkansas Cyber Summit as a way to bring community members together to discuss global cyber threats, workforce needs, and opportunities for Arkansas to better its cyber defenses and increase economic prosperity.
The Forge Institute is also a long-time partner with UA Little Rock on cybersecurity education and workforce development initiatives. Their most recent project has UA Little Rock cybersecurity faculty members and students partnering with the Forge Institute on a project funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration that will help small businesses fight cybersecurity threats.
UA Little Rock also received a $1.96 million workforce development grant from the Arkansas Office of Skills Development in the spring to form the Cyber Learning Network, a consortium among seven University of Arkansas System campuses to expand and diversify workforce education in emergent cyber technologies throughout the state of Arkansas and beyond.
“This year’s summit is going to be incredible,” said Lee Watson, founder & CEO of Forge Institute. “We have a full list of Arkansas cybersecurity leaders, collaborators, and defenders and several national experts joining in the conversation. Plus, we’ll learn how recent geo-political events are shaping the idea of collective cybersecurity defense.”