Roane State grad now at ORNL, researching how to thwart vehicular cyberattacks

Sam Hollifield (Submitted photograph) By Bob Fowler Roane State staff author This Roane State Community Faculty graduate now performs at Oak Ridge Countrywide Laboratory, studying what he explained to an interviewer is “the cat-and-mouse activity that is modern cybersecurity.” Exclusively, Samuel Hollifield Jr. is searching into means to defend vehicles’ laptop or computer units from […]

Sam Hollifield (Submitted photograph)

By Bob Fowler

Roane State staff author

This Roane State Community Faculty graduate now performs at Oak Ridge Countrywide Laboratory, studying what he explained to an interviewer is “the cat-and-mouse activity that is modern cybersecurity.”

Exclusively, Samuel Hollifield Jr. is searching into means to defend vehicles’ laptop or computer units from becoming hacked. He’s a cybersecurity components engineer. “Never in my lifetime would I assume I’d have a work defending automotive networks,” he mentioned.

His instruction at Roane State played a large job in his career path, Hollifield reported. “It sounds like a cliché, but Roane State, it modified my daily life,” he explained. “I’m a big cheerleader.”

A Kentucky native, Hollifield initially attended a community college or university there but experienced to withdraw as his late father’s health declined. Employed in the coal-mining industry and stricken with black lung illness, his father died at age 56.

Hollifield moved to Knoxville, the place he has loved ones, in 2010. He worked as an insurance coverage salesman for seven yrs. One working day, as he was driving by Roane State’s Oak Ridge Department Campus in 2017, he resolved to investigate.

A meeting with George Meghabghab, director of the neighborhood college’s Computer Info Engineering Program, changed his destiny. “He’s a particular type of human being,” Hollifield said of Professor Meghabghab.

“I was generally interested in know-how and cars,” he said, “and at initial, I believed I preferred to be a World wide web developer but then got fascinated in components engineering.”

Roane State Associate Professor Michael Chung was one particular of his favorite Roane State instructors.

“I enjoyed it that he didn’t just give the reply. He gave the rationale for the response.”

Hollifield said Roane State’s laptop labs and sources are “fantastic, and the instructors are major-notch.” He mentioned his courses involved an introduction to “hands-on hardware and how it interacts with program.”

He commenced researching cybersecurity as his knowledge of desktops enhanced. Meghabghab, he stated, “was pretty proactive about supporting his college students find work and internships.”

Hollifield was picked for an internship at ORNL in the Neighborhood Faculty Internship Program in January 2018. His internship ran out as he graduated from Roane State with an associate degree in cybersecurity. He’s now pursuing a bachelor’s degree in laptop engineering at Tennessee Tech, and that opened the doorway to another ORNL internship.

He was back again at Roane State this summer months, using cybersecurity classes not offered at Tech. He landed his complete-time position at ORNL late past yr.

On-board vehicle personal computers can be hacked rather conveniently mainly because a lot of automotive programs deficiency fault-evidence protection measures, and that can make them vulnerable, according to data from ORNL.

“I uncover it amazingly inspiring to do investigation in a hard field that is even now in its infancy,” Hollifield advised an interviewer.

Hollifield, 30, and his wife Kayla are Rockwood citizens.

Extra information will be included as it becomes readily available.

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