GCC Faculty Speaks at National Cyber Security Conference and ASU

Monday, July 24, 2023
Chad Stroot, GCC Cyber Graduate, Martin Bencic, GCC Cybersecurity Program Director. Receiving the CAE designation for GCC.

Chad Stroot, GCC Cyber Graduate, Martin Bencic, GCC Cybersecurity Program Director.

Martin Bencic, Program Director of Cybersecurity at Glendale Community College was invited to be a guest speaker at the Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) symposium held in Seattle, Washington June 5-7, 2023, with over 440 attendees.

Only eight institutions in Arizona hold the designation of CAE, as awarded by Homeland Security and the Department of Defense. Glendale Community College and Estrella Mountain Community College are two of the three community colleges in the state to hold this distinction. This designation shows that GCC's Cybersecurity Program is nationally recognized for excellence in the area of cyber defense. Martin led the application process and was instrumental in getting this honor awarded to GCC.

Mr. Bencic is also the project lead for the upcoming opening of the Gaucho Security Operations Center (GSOC). This is the first of its kind for MCCCD and the opportunity this program will provide for our students is endless. This first-in-the-state program focuses on students working in a live security operations center while providing 'security as a service' to the community. This allows students to gain real-world experience, which will clearly differentiate them as they graduate and apply for jobs in the industry. Students will serve in the GSOC as paid interns through a semester-long internship. “Martin is extremely student-focused and has taken the cybersecurity program from nearly being placed on moratorium to being one of the most sought-after programs on campus” stated Rachelle Hall, Department Chair for Business, IT, and Cyber at GCC.

GSOC is based on a program that was launched at Boise State University called the Cyberdome. This program, led by GCC alum Edward Vasko, has seen multiple years of growth and overall success in producing a workforce that is clearly “Ready to Work.” 

“Martin has been a stalwart member of the Phoenix cybersecurity community for many years. When I was the CEO of Arizona’s largest cybersecurity company, I relied upon Martin’s willingness to partner with industry, and the fantastic students his program produced to grow and scale nationally,” said Edward Vasko, Director of the Institute for Pervasive Cybersecurity at Boise State University. “Now, through the GSOC, we have a chance to deepen that partnership to create long-lasting value for students, and the communities the GSOC serves. As a GCC alum, it is great to see the commitment to program innovation and to student success continue.” 

In addition to his speaking engagement at the CAE Symposium, Martin is making a return visit by invitation and popular demand at ASU for two sessions working with the refugee students and their families. He will provide an overview of MCCCD programs and then will turn the focus on Computer Science and Cybersecurity programs and the career opportunities these areas offer. He will be addressing the Burundian and Congolese families in the morning and afternoon on Saturday, October 21st and the Syrians and Bhutanese families the morning and afternoon of December 2nd.

Watch for the future announcement of the Grand Opening of GSOC on August 18th.