Highlights from BYU colleges: Professors teach cybersecurity, Utah’s immigrants get their stories told


Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering

Teachers were taught cybersecurity during a course run by two associate professors at BYU. (Abi Falin)

Associate professors Geoffrey Wright and Justin Giboney hosted three weeks worth of free cybersecurity lessons to educate teachers on how to stay safe on the internet. With the help of volunteers, the professors facilitated lessons and activities to help teachers from K-12 learn about new cybersecurity concepts, resources and lesson plans. The goal is to educate teachers so students can be more prepared to avoid hackers.

“We want students that can be able to research on their own, find out things on their own, have a desire to learn things,” Giboney said, “so that they can keep up and they can stay ahead of the bad guy.”

BYU cybersecurity student Megan Warren said she would have loved to have taken more cybersecurity or computer science classes in high school, but didn’t really feel like it was something girls could do.

“I didn’t know about things, or I didn’t feel like I could be a part of them,” Warren said. “So, I think it’s cool having a teacher camp, so that they can find ways to reach out and bring more kids in and get them more interested in programs like this.”

College of Life Sciences

Michael Whiting is the new director of the Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum. (BYU Photo)

Michael Whiting is the new director of the Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum. The announcement was made by Dean James Porter from the College of Life Sciences and Whiting will begin his position on Aug. 1.

Whiting currently works as a biology professor at BYU, teaching students about the evolution of bugs and insects. He is also the director and founder of the DNA Sequencing Center on campus.

As the new director of the museum, Whiting hopes to help the public gain a better understanding of science and help fight misinformation that can arise. He also plans to focus on the museum’s areas of biodiversity, conservation and evolution.

“Mike has a long history with the Bean Museum, dating all the way to age eleven when he helped with their insect zoo,” Porter said. “He is committed to the mission of BYU and plans to make this a point of emphasis during his administration. I look forward to working with him and seeing how things unfold under his leadership.”

College of Family, Home and Social Sciences

BYU history professor Brenden Rensink is telling the stories of immigrants in Utah and surrounding states through an interactive website and mobile app called Intermountain Histories. (Jaren Wilkey/BYU)

BYU history professor Brenden Rensink created an app and website called Intermountain Histories which gives insight into the numerous untold stories of immigrants in Utah and surrounding states. Using a GPS, users can search different areas of California, Utah, Arizona, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada and find people’s history in the location they settled. Not only does it highlight pioneers and their stories, but lesser known minority groups like Jewish, Finnish, Chinese and Thai communities are also featured. Over 400 stories are already published. Rensink created Intermountain Histories to push the narratives that aren’t always heard.

“Too often we stop with the most obvious histories, or the histories that we grew up hearing, and we never pause to ask, ‘What else is out there?’” Rensink says. “There are infinitely more perspectives, voices and stories that we haven’t heard than ones we have, and you don’t have to dig very far to find them.”

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