Cybersecurity DevilsArizona State University student organization NerdHerd: Cybersecurity Devils is one of the Polytechnic campus’s largest student organizations, boasting 450 members and counting. Cybersecurity Devils, a subsidiary of the NerdHerd club, doubled its membership in the past year to impact hundreds of students.

Industry speakers from companies such as Microsoft, Oracle and CrowdStrike among many others have given members invaluable insight into the world of information technology, career trajectories after graduation and more. Opportunities only increased along with membership growth during the pandemic through more frequent Zoom-based speaker events.

These impacts have led to university-wide recognition. Since the organization’s inception in 2019, it has been nominated for and won a Poly: Student Leadership Award for being an outstanding undergraduate student organization. The Polys are awards given to individuals or groups based on the ASU Polytechnic campus for excellence in a number of areas.

This year, the group was also a Pitchfork Award finalist for the category of outstanding undergraduate student organization. The Pitchfork Awards are an ASU awards platform that celebrates student success.

NerdHerd: Cybersecurity Devils faculty advisor, Tatiana Walsh, an information technology lecturer and program chair, was also awarded a 2020 Poly award for student organization advisor of the year.

Walsh spent more than 25 years in the technology industry and recently joined the ASU faculty. As a scholar practitioner, she believes that providing students opportunities to learn about different disciplines will encourage a community of practice that promotes cooperation and collaboration.

“There is a reason why Cybersecurity Devils has made an impression at ASU; it is because we are able to show our students the relevance of their skills in the IT industry,” Walsh says. “This club offers valuable discussions to prepare our students for opportunities after graduation.”

A student-inspired movementTatiana Walsh

The idea for the club was sparked by student curiosity and their interest in becoming relevant when eventually joining the information technology industry. In such a large program, students wanted a space to feel inspired, encouraged and have a sense of belonging.

Students also expressed the need to learn more about cybersecurity, which is what inspired the student organization’s name and agenda. Additional topics of discussion include cloud computing, database analytics, information development and service management.

“I’m glad I joined this organization because it’s given me perspectives on the IT industry that I wouldn’t have learned from a textbook,” says Sebastian Ginsberg, Cybersecurity Devils president and information technology graduate student. “It’s also a great way to network and build relationships outside of the classroom.”

How to get involved

Cybersecurity Devils meetings are held in-person on Wednesdays at noon during the fall semester with additional support for virtual participation. It’s a worthwhile extracurricular experience for information technology students like Ginsberg.

“In addition to being exposed to successful IT professionals on a weekly basis, I now have leadership experience as Cybersecurity Devils’ president, which is priceless,” Ginsberg says. “I look forward to signing up as many new students as possible this semester because I want the new class to benefit from this club like I have.”

If you have questions or are interested in joining Cybersecurity Devils, sign up to receive meeting and event notifications.