The Leahy Center’s New Director

The Leahy Center’s New Director Adam Goldstein

The Leahy Center has a new Executive Director: Adam Goldstein, an Assistant Professor from Champlain College. We sat down with him to talk about his journey here and his plans for the future.

Editor: “First of all, congratulations on your new position as executive director of the Leahy Center! I’m wondering—what motivated you to take on this position?”

Adam: “I had been working at the Leahy Center with John, Alex, and Joe for a couple of years. I enjoyed engaging with students working on projects outside of the classroom. The experiential learning work that is being done down here is great both for the students and the community. I liked involving myself with those projects. When the opportunity was there, It felt like a chance to be even more involved. It was a chance to continue the good work we’ve been doing with Champlain and the Leahy Center.”

“About those projects, do you have anything that you’re interested in starting up?”

I think that it isn’t as much new projects as it is continuing to expand what we’ve been doing well. A big part of our direction going forward is to continue to work with community partners. This ranges from nonprofits and other groups that we support to private industry and businesses. We’re looking at folks who have been hiring our students. We can work with them on projects that can help prepare students for the workplace. In particular, we’re looking to expand the Internet of Things projects. We are looking for partners for the potential to have some sponsored research. Healthcare settings have seen more and more IoT technology, so we want to look into that. We are also looking into building control systems, now that there is more automation. This means partnering with some groups who are either developing or supporting those projects to make sure they are secure.”

“I see you have a lot of experience—10 years at Dartmouth, 5 years at Villanova. I was wondering: how do experiences here at Champlain differ from those at previous institutions? How do you bring those experiences here?”

“My background in Dartmouth and Villanova was in security operations, so I ran the cybersecurity operations at both places. In both instances, I was the first cybersecurity person that was hired into the, at the time, new positions. Because of that, I had to basically build those programs. In those small environments, you basically do everything, between internal investigations and partnering with law enforcement for civil issues. Through that, I have a lot of applied experience. I had a good view of the growth of cybersecurity as a discipline over the past 20 years.
I think coming to Champlain and making that shift to teaching full time has been kind of an aspiration of mine, its something I really enjoy doing, but having that operational background really helps inform the projects that we work on as well as the groups that we partner with because I understand the operational needs and challenges of different organizations.”

“Earlier you mentioned that you would be the first person hired in those cybersecurity positions. I feel like it goes to show just how new of a field cybersecurity is. Where do you feel the Leahy Center fits in that timeline, and how does it fit in as the field progresses?”

I feel like the Leahy Center is extremely innovative. Champlain College as a whole was an early adopter of digital forensics and cybersecurity as an academic discipline. We were one of the first to really have majors in those fields. I think that the program that has been built here, providing those experiential opportunities for so many students for so many years, is ahead of its time; definitely the direction of the future. The college is excited to expand experiential learning, and the Leahy Center is at the forefront of that. Going forward, because it is such a new field, the community needs help. Organizations that are resource-constrained now have to deal with cybersecurity issues that, 10-15 years ago, they didn’t. They shouldn’t have to, nor should they necessarily need to, apply resources that would otherwise go towards the good work they would be doingAs a center, I think we’re well-positioned to help by having our students work in those organizations, assisting them in their cybersecurity and digital investigation efforts. It provides learning experiences for our students while minimizing resource impacts for those organizations and increasing their efficacy and security.”

“Looking a bit inwards, how would you describe the working environment here at the Leahy Center, and how does that factor into your future plans?”

“Given the fact that we have 80-100 undergrads working here any given semester in numerous teams, students coming from different disciplines at the college, all working under student supervisors, I think the working atmosphere is great. It really is preparing students for the workplace. You here that time and time again from the employers that come to hire our students. The work that we do here is really preparing them, and the employer’s notice. I think going forward, we really want to continue to see a multidisciplinary approach, one with more collaboration. Some of the exciting projects we’re working on now bring a lot of opportunities for students of other disciplines. Next year, we’re looking at projects where we’re going to bring in Psychology, Business Development, and Criminal Justice students. We can build some great interdisciplinary teams to work on solving problems together, so I’m excited. We are continuing to do the great work we’re doing and working to build more opportunities for more students.”

“Do you have any big ambitions moving forwards?”

“In the past, the Leahy Center has had a couple clear objectives. One of these is providing professional services through digital investigations and security operations. We also have a research component with students working on exciting projects and providing that info to the community. I think what we’re working on now is having outreach initiatives, more projects focused on engagement with the community.
We also want to work on education initiatives. This includes developing programs where our students are helping design and create training and other educational resources. Professionals and community members would use these to understand cybersecurity issues. I think the goal going forward is having four-pillar ideas: professional services, research, education, and outreach.”

“To wrap it up, is there anything that anybody reading this should be looking for soon?”

“Stay tuned. Like I said, we have a lot of exciting projects on the horizon. I think there will be some exciting news about some of the partnerships we’re developing, and yeah, we’re excited.”

“Alright, well congratulations again on your new position. Thank you for taking the time to sit and talk!”

“Thank you!”

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