A Penn State online learner was selected to attend a global security conference

A Penn State World Campus alumnus and current student was among the thousands of cybersecurity professionals who attended an international security conference in San Francisco in April.

Joshua D’Ottavio received the special designation of a Security Scholar at the RSA Conference (RSAC). He is studying homeland security online through Penn State World Campus and serves as a lead engineer for the technology consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton.

D’Ottavio was selected as an RSAC Security Scholar by the Penn State College of Information Sciences and Technology. He had previously earned a Bachelor of Science in Security and Risk Analysis, which is offered online by the College of IST.

He expects to graduate with a Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security in the summer of 2023.

D’Ottavio said he was honored to represent Penn State at RSAC, where he interacted with cybersecurity leaders and fellow security scholars through career-advancing workshops and sessions.

“The conference’s array of cultural richness and domain-specific expertise was remarkable,” D’Ottavio said. “The opportunity to interact with individuals who brought diverse viewpoints to a common topic was truly enlightening. This experience underscored the transformative potential of diversity in collaborative settings, particularly its capacity to fuel innovation.”

In the homeland security graduate program, D’Ottavio’s focus is information security and forensics, which prepares graduates for careers in systems integration, information security and digital forensics, intelligence analysis, and more.

“The courses within the Homeland Security – Information Security and Forensics program granted me an enriched understanding of the functioning of our government and its perspectives regarding policy formation,” D’Ottavio said. “Those classes were enlightening, and I grew from the new perspectives they granted me.”

D’Ottavio has been accepted to the Doctor of Engineering in Engineering program, which is also offered online. He plans to enroll in the fall of 2023.

A first-generation American and retired U.S. Army infantryman, D’Ottavio said he was grateful for the invaluable experience offered by RSAC and hopes his story will inspire others.

“Achieving this remarkable milestone has not only instilled within me a profound sense of gratitude for the comprehensive education and numerous opportunities facilitated by Penn State,” he said, “but it has also ignited a desire to pursue even more ambitious accomplishments.”

Learn more about the science and technology programs offered online by Penn State World Campus.

Media Contact:
Mike Dawson