Standing Room Only for Kollars’ Cybersecurity Talk


Photo Courtesy of Riley Tovornik.

Students packed into McGannon Hall this past Wednesday, April 24, to hear Nina Kollars, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Strategic and Operational Research at the Naval War College, give a talk on international cybersecurity research.

The event, titled “White Hat Hacking as National Security: The Emerging Global System,” focused on Kollars’ most recent undertaking in research, and previewed a larger analysis of the issue in her coming book.

The talk, which was presented by the Political Science Department and co-sponsored by the Russian and Eastern European Area Studies program and the Computer Science Department, brought a large and diverse array of students and faculty, not exclusive to SLU, to listen to Kollars speak. With the crowd packed in, the room was standing room only by the time the event began.  

Nori Katagiri, Ph.D., began by introducing Kollars and welcomed the large number of attendees, as well as jokingly welcoming “others” listening – in the spirit of the cybersecurity talk. Kollars spent the majority of the time discussing the issues and challenges facing the future of cybersecurity and international relations in the public and private sector and emphasized the role that “white hat” hackers would play in the not-so-distant future.

One student in attendance, sophomore Caroline Barnes said that “cybersecurity and hacking is not something I am usually exposed to as a political science major.”

Barnes was not alone in this, as Kollars surveyed the room and found that many in the crowd knew little, if nothing, of the topic she was going to cover.


“I really had little knowledge on hacking in general,” Barnes said, but she continued, saying that she “learned how vulnerable we all are as a society and our government in general.”


Even with little to no background on the subject, the talk was accessible to all that attended.


“Kollars was very knowledgeable and knew how to keep the crowd interested,” Barnes said. “Her presentation had some great information and taught me a lot.”


Ultimately, the presentation by Kollars offered a lot to the students that attended, regardless of their major or background.


“I think cyber security and hacking as a whole is an issue that is on the rise and our government will need to create laws to combat these issues,” Barnes said. “I hope one day to be proposing legislation that deals with this topic.”