Faculty Spotlight: Frank Mayer

Frank Mayer, CISSP, says, "Seeing students gain competency in life and professional skills that will give them a real chance to meet their goals and dreams" means the most to him about teaching.

A subject matter expert in cybersecurity, Frank Mayer, CISSP, joined Harford Community College as adjunct faculty in fall 2017. He teaches Introduction to Cybersecurity, Computer Forensics, Introduction to Networks, Fundamentals of Network Security, Security+, Network+, and the Certified Authorization Professional (CAP) course. Mayer says what he enjoys most about teaching is "seeing students gain competency in life and professional skills that will give them a real chance to meet their goals and dreams."

Some of the challenges he faces as an instructor include " . . . keeping up with the continual and dynamic changes in the cybersecurity and education fields so I can deliver the education the students deserve, connecting with them now that distance learning has become the norm, and helping them overcome barriers to their achieving their dreams." From his courses, he hopes his students will learn how to think critically, to work respectfully as a member of a team, and to challenge their assumptions about what's possible for themselves and for others to accomplish.

Mayer serves the College and his students in many ways. He's a member of the College's Strategic Planning Committee and Information Assurance/Cyber HCC Advisory Board. He helped to revamp the College’s Fundamentals of Network Security course. Mayer provides additional instruction on the subject matter outside of the classroom for current and former students as they prepare for industry certifications such as CompTIA Security+. He also prepares students to participate in an all-day exercise at Baltimore Cyber Range, where they are exposed to simulated attacks on a virtualized network. Along with two other professors from other Maryland community colleges, he is the curator for the training manual that they use to prepare students for the exercise.

To help increase interest in cybersecurity at an early age, he teaches the Gen Cyber Camp in summer for middle school students. Mayer serves as the camp lead instructor along with project lead Dawn Grissom and camp co-instructor David Antol and worked with curriculum designers to put together a robust curriculum teaching students about cybersecurity in the context of familiar Internet of Things (IoT) devices that are a part of their home and play. “During the two camps we ran, the students investigated, programed and hacked Roomba vacuum cleaners, programed Amazon's Alexa and learned firsthand from HCC’s drone technology instructor Richard Gutierrez and former instructor Joe Domanico about relevant applications of drones – including risks, safety and security, and ethical issues. The camps are designed to increase the interest in the rapidly-developing field of cybersecurity, teach safe online behavior, and apply GenCyber Cybersecurity First Principles." The College is planning to run the GenCyber Camp program again in the summer of 2021, this time as all-girl camps.

Prior to coming to Harford, Mayer had 40 years of professional experience, including serving as an Acquisition Professional and Cybersecurity Manager with the U.S. Army Communications Electronics Command (CECOM) Software Engineering Center (SEC) at Aberdeen Proving Ground Maryland, Retired Army Officer, and Senior Engineer in the areas of verification and validation and Cybersecurity with Computer Sciences Corporation and other companies. He's a member of the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC)², Association of the United States Army, and National Cryptologic Museum Foundation.

Through his professional associations and as a National Science Foundation (NSF) STEM Mentor and Career Navigator, Mayer helps students learn about internship and employment opportunities and works with them on resume writing and mock interviewing. "I coordinate with CECOM representatives on their needs in terms of student skills needed to make them employment ready and on employment opportunities for students. I work as part of the team on the P-TECH Grant to coordinate with CECOM to ensure that we are providing students the learning opportunities they need to succeed."

Mayer earned a M.S. in Systems Management as well as a graduate certificate in Technology Management, Systems Integration, Systems Acquisition Management, Management of Research, Development, Testing and Evaluation from Capitol Technology University in Laurel, MD; and a B.S. in Biology – Pre-Medicine from Widener University. In addition, he is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).

Mayer's many recognitions for his outstanding work include Northeastern Maryland Technology Council's 'Mentor' Visionary Award, a Harford Star Award, and Distinguished Member of the Army Signal Regiment, as well as other military and civil service awards including the Meritorious Award for Civilian Service, the Meritorious Service Medal with Four Oak Leaf Clusters, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, and Pennsylvania Distinguished Service Medal. Mayer said he was “honored and humbled” to be recognized as this month's Faculty Spotlight.

In his free time, he enjoys politics, Byzantine history, and music. Frank, who has lived in several different states as well as in Europe for many years, has five children and three grandchildren.

We are pleased to recognize Frank Mayer for his many accomplishments and contributions to the College and its students, faculty and staff. Dedicated and passionate about student success, Frank is a shining example of our outstanding faculty. Congratulations, Frank, on being featured as this month's Faculty Spotlight!