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Jesse Reed completed a summer internship with Blue Cross Blue Shield's information security team as he works toward bachelor's degrees in cybersecurity and emergency and disaster management. (Photo by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

Jesse Reed completed a summer internship with Blue Cross Blue Shield's information security team as he works toward bachelor's degrees in cybersecurity and emergency and disaster management. (Photo by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

Oct. 16, 2020

Internship, co-curricular activities help Reed apply cybersecurity, emergency management knowledge

By Leah Newell, communication assistant


Northwest Missouri State University student Jesse Reed didn’t let COVID-19 deter him from applying skills he learned in the classroom while working as a remote intern during the summer for Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Reed, a junior cybersecurity and emergency and disaster management major from Topeka, Kansas, worked on the information security team for Blue Cross Blue Shield in Topeka, Kansas. Although his internship started in office, like many employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, he transitioned to working at his home. Reed collaborated with a coworker to coordinate threat and vulnerability management.

“Taking part in this internship made me realize just how important the work environment where you are is,” Reed said. “The people, the floor layout, and the pacing all influence your motivation to keep giving it your all and the ability to wake up the next day without dreading going to your job. I was fortunate to be surrounded by awesome coworkers who made the experience a positive one.”

Working remotely did not come without its difficulties, but the experiences also enhanced Reed’s learning.

“Getting used to having team meetings virtually and not being able to talk to team members face-to-face, in person was something that took some time to get used to,” Reed said. “Also, being at home made keeping myself accountable much more important when it’s super easy to just turn on a show or something instead.”

Although the internship more closely related to Reed’s studies as a cybersecurity major, he also applied his emergency and disaster management knowledge in evaluating the company’s policy data logs and storage capabilities in case of an emergency.

“My coursework and involvement in the Cyber Defense Club helped prepare me for the technical challenges presented at my internship,” Reed said. “Outside of the technical aspect of the internship, being a part of the Speaking Bearcats (forensics team) made communicating in-depth technical information to higher-ups in a comprehensible way much easier than it would have been without those communication skills.”

Reed said he has always had an interest in computers and technology. While the quality of Northwest’s cybersecurity program attracted him to the University, he says Northwest’s focus on providing profession-based experiences has proven to be an advantage.

“I was really compelled by (Northwest’s) emphasis on being ‘career ready, day one.’”

After graduation, Reed wants to use his skills in cybersecurity and emergency and disaster management to help guarantee the safe keeping of people’s data and digital information.


Media contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704