Penn College IT student wins national contest

A Pennsylvania College of Technology information technology student has earned accolades from COMMON, the world’s largest association of IBM and IBM-compatible information technology users.

Joseph M. Dreese, of Millerstown, won COMMON’s 2018 Student Innovation Contest for his “Phishing with a License” project. The competition recognizes innovation in information systems, enterprise computing, computer science, information technology or a related field.

Dreese’s project describes how to measure student susceptibility to phishing attacks and offers training recommendations for phishing awareness.

According to Symantec, the world’s leading cyber security company, phishing is “an attempt to illegally gather personal and financial information by sending a message that appears to be from a well-known and trusted company.” Such messages usually include a fake website link and entice users to provide information, which is then used for fraudulent activity.

Dreese’s anti-phishing submission consisted of an eight-page paper and a 10-minute video describing his project.

“The quality of Joe’s work speaks to the true passion he has for this field,” said Bock. “That passion is evident both in and out of the classroom. He’s going to be a very successful professional.”

An Army veteran, Dreese graduated in May with an information assurance and cyber security bachelor’s degree. The dean’s list student has secured postgraduate employment at A-LIGN, a cybersecurity and compliance firm based in Tampa, Florida.

In addition to information assurance and cyber security, Penn College offers bachelor’s degrees in software development and information management, information technology sciences ­– gaming and simulation, and information technology: network specialist concentration. The college also provides an associate degree in information technology: technical support technology emphasis.