Student Success Story – Adam Stensland

How Adam Stensland Found an Internship in Cybersecurity through the Job and Internship Fair

Adam Stensland launched his career in cybersecurity after taking advantage of tools and services offered by the Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development, such as career exploration classes and the Job and Internship Fair.

Stensland, a junior majoring in computer science, was selected to enter the Advanced Course in Engineering (ACE), the U.S. Air Force’s premier cybersecurity bootcamp, which is hosted by Assured Information Security (AIS).

“I’m looking forward to focusing my learning on cybersecurity, getting a much better feel for and making contributions to the field, and getting to know lots of new friends,” Stensland said.

The ACE program included weekly lectures, cybersecurity research, eight-mile runs and more. At the end of the 10 weeks of the course, there was a simulated cyber engagement which involved splitting the interns into two opposing teams that were situated on a facility with bunkers, drones, and more.

“I’ve had an interest in cryptography for quite a long time, and over last summer, I decided to take a deep dive into it,” Stensland said. “I learned about hashing, networks, and a variety of other topics that happen to make up the field of cybersecurity, and realized how fascinating they are to me, and how important it is to Americans on an individual and national scale.”

Stensland utilized a few courses in order to help him choose a major and ultimately led him to the ACE internship. He took the UNIV101, a first-year experience course, and the Fleishman Center’s Online Career Exploration Course (CDCI200).

“The courses were essential in my figuring out that computer science was the way to go, and also helped me to craft my resume and build my network,” Stensland said. “In the long run, they’ve been immensely helpful to me in developing my educational and occupational goals as well as in bringing them to fruition.”

Along with these courses, Stensland also attended the Fleishman Center’s Job and Internship Fair to get connected with employers. A friend of Stensland suggested the AIS table would suit him and he said it turned out to be exactly what he was looking for.

“Had I not gone to the fair, I most likely would not have learned about the ACE program, and certainly not in time to apply,” Stensland said. “I wasn’t familiar with AIS before arriving, but within a few moments of speaking with the representatives, I knew that the ACE program would make the top of my list of potential internships.”

Stensland said his advice for future students attending the fair would be to research the companies beforehand and brainstorm a few targeted questions to ask— questions that cannot be answered with a quick search.

“For example, avoid asking questions like ‘what jobs are you offering?’ or ‘what does your company do?’ [because] you can often answer those yourself,” Stensland said. “More targeted questions like, ‘what are some projects past interns have worked on?’ or ‘what do you like most about working at <company>?’ will get you insight that you might not be able to find online.”

As Stensland originally did not know about the AIS table at the fair, he had to utilize his own advice before proceeding to network and ultimately, landing an invaluable internship experience.

“I recommend the same tactics for when a certain company at the fair unexpectedly piques your interest— step away, do some quick research, develop some targeted questions, and come back!” Stensland said. “You may lose a little bit of time, but you’ll have the opportunity to have a much more valuable conversation.”

By Daisy DeMasi
Daisy DeMasi Daisy DeMasi