Marshall alum wins prestigious NASA award, credits university’s digital forensics program for his success

Updated 4 years ago Special to HNN Provided by Marshall University
Marshall alum wins prestigious NASA award, credits university’s digital forensics program for his success

Marshall alumnus Brad Roeher has received the Excellence in Values Award for his work with the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Program (IV&V) Secure Coding Portal.

 

Roeher, a 26-year old information assurance contractor for NASA, said his job is to protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of NASA information.

“The Secure Coding Portal (SCP) is simply a place where software developers can go to learn how to develop code in a secure fashion. It is a one-stop shop for learning about the rules, tools, resources and requirements for secure coding,” Roeher said. “I truly believe the work that we do is helping to make NASA more secure. It allows the agency to focus more on advancing human knowledge and less on worrying about cyber-attacks, and so getting recognized for that work was fantastic.”

Roeher said he was selected to help build the Secure Coding Portal because of the educational experience he gained while pursuing his bachelor’s degree from Marshall’s Digital Forensics and Information Assurance program in 2014.

“One of the most problematic things about the world of information security is that it requires its practitioners to be knowledgeable on such a wide variety of topics,” he said. “Many programs have a very linear course catalog that attempts to produce experts in one specific area.”

According to Roeher, Marshall’s program was different because its curriculum structure allowed him to think outside of the box and acquire hands-on training in a multitude of different areas.

“I graduated from Marshall with unlimited career options,” Roeher noted. “I had exposure to a variety of in-demand skills like software development, information security, digital forensic analysis and many others.”

Growing up in Logan, West Virginia, Roeher believed he was destined to be a coal miner. Now a NASA award winner, Roeher said he couldn’t have done it without the support of his family and Marshall’s faculty members.

“Growing up in southern West Virginia tends to promote the mindset that the only path to success is to become a coal miner,” he said. “A year after high school, while attending community college, my fiancée (now wife) informed me that she was going to Marshall with or without me. Unofficially, her decision forced me to pack up and head to Huntington unsure of what I even planned to study. I always enjoyed working with computers, but I was intimidated by the thought of writing computer code. I wanted to play it safe and choose a major that wouldn’t be too difficult. I tend to underestimate myself.”

Luckily, Marshall faculty members knew Roeher had the potential to be much more than even he had imagined.

“My professors, John Sammons, Brian Morgan and Bill Gardner, each played a crucial role in my life, always there to offer advice and guidance,” Roeher said. “I have been blessed with a loving and supporting family, wonderful friends and great teachers. Each played a significant part in getting me to where I am today, and not a day goes by that I don’t count my blessings. Marshall University helped to shape me into the person I am, and it will forever hold a special place in my heart.”

Roeher, a resident of Morgantown for the last two years, said as a son of Marshall, he still bleeds green (even if he can’t wear it in public most places).

To learn more about Roeher and his recent recognition from NASA, or for more information on Marshall’s digital forensics and information assurance program, visit www.marshall.edu/forensicsciences/dfia.