Faculty Focus: Khester Kendrick
College of Science, Engineering and Technology
Title: Teaching faculty
Years at GCU: Just under two years as a teaching faculty though I was a student at GCU for close to five years before coming to work here.
Academic degrees: I have a B.S. in Applied Business from our awesome university and an MBA, also from GCU. I also have an M.S. in Cybersecurity from Liberty University. Finally, I am attending the University of the Cumberlands for a Ph.D. in Information Technology with an Emphasis in Information Security. I have about a year left in the Ph.D. program as I work on my dissertation.
What is your most notable accomplishment in your field, and why was it important?
You mean, next to working here? For me personally, it was being able to talk to a bunch of nerds and geeks at Fan Fusion. What can I say — comic books and sci-fi movies are my thing, and being able to talk as a panelist was a highlight. On a professional level, I was selected to speak at the K12 National Initiative for Cyber Education with my colleague Dr. Dwight Farris. Having the opportunity to learn and help teachers across the country and better prepare them to educate our young adults is what being a faculty member is all about.
What are you most passionate about in your field and why?
I thought we already covered comic books, “Star Trek” and “Lord of the Rings.” I enjoy discovering new ways of stopping the bad guy. Sure, we have the police, we have lawyers, we have public safety. Cybersecurity is that one field where you get to be a detective while eating nachos and drinking Mountain Dew. Of course, I’m over 40 now, so it’s closer to green tea and low fat Wheat Thins, but you get the point.
What is a memorable moment you had in class, and what does that reveal about your teaching style?
Last year we were working on a project with a company to identify vulnerabilities in their software. I had about 60 volunteers, from freshmen to seniors, all wanting to jump in and start digging around. The Honors College had a couple of business students who organized and set up a reporting structure online via Google Docs, and the team leads jumped in on the technical side.
It amazed me that we had students from five different degree programs all wanting to jump into cybersecurity at some level. More than that, the business students took the lead and worked with each technical team to identify the vulnerabilities and threats for this company even though it was obvious these business students didn’t even know what we were talking about half the time. It didn’t stop them — they asked questions, they learned and together GCU students showed we can accomplish anything.
We identified multiple critical vulnerabilities and helped the company patch their system. Because of our students’ hard work, the company was able to pass the security screening through Google on its first go-round.
What do you like to do for fun in your spare time?
You mean other than watch “I-Robot” and “Big Brother?” I think Christmas is going to take the win this season. I enjoy spending time with the kids watching cheesy reality shows that I never in a million years would have watched if it weren’t for them. I also have an aquaponics system in the backyard where we grow a variety of vegetables from fish poop. That’s pretty much it because between working on a Ph.D. and watching TV with the kids, I don’t exactly have a ton of spare time.
What is something interesting about you that most people don’t know?
Oh geez, something people don’t know. I have a pretty big mouth and talk too much — I’m not sure there is something that people don’t already know.