The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand Facilitates Cybersecurity Roundtable at St. John’s University

The Senator spoke of the importance of cybersecurity careers and Internet safety.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand toured the Cybersecurity Lab located on the second floor of St. Augustine Hall.
Torch Photo / Olivia Seaman

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), attended St. John’s University for a discussion on cybersecurity on April 24 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sen. Gillibrand discussed growing cybersecurity threats and college programs designed to increase careers in the field. 

University president Rev. Brian Shanley, Collins College of Professional Studies (CCPS) Dean Luca Iandoli,  SJU students, professors and cybersecurity professionals were in attendance. 

The event began with a tour of the second floor of St. Augustine Hall, where CCPS is located. Sen. Gillibrand was shown the Design Factory, Drs. E. Lawrence and Adele V. Deckinger Center for Integrated Advertising Communication and the Cybersecurity and Homeland Security labs. 

The Senator — who serves on the Senate Armed Services and Intelligence Committees — then facilitated a roundtable discussion on the importance of cybersecurity in New York City. She emphasized her federal cybersecurity scholarship project, which would provide substantial financial assistance to students from qualifying institutions in exchange for their engagement in public service.

In an exclusive interview with The Torch, Gillibrand said the program “is essential for our families, our communities and our whole country.” 

“We need this generation to be our best and brightest in this industry because they’re smarter than the rest of us. They know [the Internet and its capabilities], it’s native to them, it’s something they understand instinctively and I think we need them defending the country.” 

In the discussion, she also said that in the past 10 years, she’s been most concerned with the growing threat of cyber-attacks, and “everything that’s harming our economy and making our people less secure.”

“This school is important because it’s training the next generation of cyber-defenders that we desperately need, as well as our innovators and inventors of the future.” 

Sen. Gillibrand admires the technology in the Homeland Security Lab with CCPS dean Luca Iandoli and University president Rev. Brian Shanley.
Torch Photo / Olivia Seaman

After touring the labs, the senator said the cybersecurity lab was “very impressive.” 

“Clearly, [the labs] inspire students to choose careers in cyber[security],” she said. “It has the capacity and state-of-the-art technology that allows people to imagine what these careers are actually like, and give them the training to succeed in those careers.”

The senator also spoke about the growing threat of TikTok and has been vocal about banning TikTok if not sold to a domestic company. She spoke of her belief that social media is being used to target users and “convinces you to see the world a different way.” 

When asked how to navigate these concerns as college students, Gillibrand said, “It’s important to put social media into the context that ‘these are not your friends.’” 

“I would tell young people that [TikTok] is just a tool. Use it for what’s good for you and don’t get consumed by it because they’re not your friends.” 

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About the Contributor
Olivia Seaman
Olivia Seaman, Editor-in-Chief

Olivia is a senior journalism student currently serving as The Torch’s Editor-in-Chief. She previously served as Managing Editor for two years. She's also written for amNewYork, Bronx Times and QNS. Outside of The Torch, she is a student ambassador and an undergraduate writing consultant at the University Writing Center. She loves to watch St. John's Basketball, exploring New York City and matcha lattes!

Olivia can be reached at [email protected]  
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  • D

    Dutcher BillApr 26, 2024 at 11:19 pm

    Indeed, TikTok is just a tool. So is Facebook, Instagram, X, Reddit, etc.
    What is needed are social media rules that apply to all, not just TikTok. Your cyber-specialty student body should be able to guide you here.
    Sure, TT Is Chinese owned. But most all online companies swap info about us. That is what needs to be clarified and limited.
    Congratulations on your continued praiseworthy service to NYS.