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University of Maryland University College faculty and guest speakers shared insights and tips on writing, research, publishing and personal branding.

In late April, the Center for Security Studies hosted a Cybersecurity Research Colloquium for 2017-2019 NSA and MITRE grant and scholarship recipients that provided the 22 students who attended in-person and online with a collaborative platform to move their research efforts closer to publication. During the daylong session presented at the Dorsey Station Academic Center, University of Maryland University College cybersecurity faculty and guests offered participants three different perspectives on ways to elevate their research to get it published.

Mansur Hasib, Ph.D.,  chair of the Cybersecurity Technology Program at UMUC, kicked off the event with a presentation on the value of independent publishing and personal branding. In it, he laid out the pros and cons of independent publishing versus traditional publishing.

One of the main drawbacks with traditional publishing today is the control and distribution of one’s work, according to Hasib. Independent publishing provides a viable option because it allows authors to retain control.

“Authors also benefit from a faster time to market and lower prices for consumers, [and] independent publishing allows you to support the positive trend of education resources for all,” he said.

Personal brand goes hand-in-hand with independent publishing, Hasib added. “Your personal brand encapsulates what you stand for, your values, your mission in life, the causes you support, and what your actions, words and deeds convey,” he said.

For independent publishers, developing a personal brand helps build value for their work and helps market their ideas. “Ultimately, your brand will help you gain better control of your career and help you decouple your personal success from your organization,” Hasib said.

Patrick O’Guinn, J.D., MPA, program chair, digital forensics and cyber investigations at UMUC, shares tips from his book, “6Q Six Questions Writing Method”

Patrick O’Guinn, J.D., MPA, and program chair for digital forensics and cyber investigations at UMUC, shared experiential writing techniques from his book “6Q Six Questions Writing Method.” He focused participants on the importance of making a strong affirmative statement of the problem in the first sentence of their writing so that they can create a hard-hitting foundation for developing papers, articles and presentations.

“Writing is freedom, empowerment and performance,” O’Guinn said. He stressed that participants must “write to win in your work every time. Your writing sets the standard for the reliability of your work.”

David H. Tobey, Ph.D., co-principal investigator and director of research and assessments at the National CyberWatch Center, brought a more traditional view of research to the colloquium. He cited the book “Designing Research for Publication” by Anne Sigismund Huff, referenced the MIS Quarterly article on Information Security Policy Compliance, “An Empirical Study of Rationality-Based Beliefs and Information Security Awareness,” by Burcu Bulgurcu, Hasan Cavusoglu and Izak Benbasat, and used both to help participants think about practicing scholarship, deconstructing theory, and critiquing through doubt and belief.

The colloquium offered a unique mix of knowledge, talent, expertise and perspective—all delivered in a highly interactive session that allowed participants to network, collaborate, plan for next steps and make lasting friendships.