UNK’s Cyber Club: Where the Focus is on Building Relationships

Posted: November 28, 2023 12:00:00 AM CST

John Behrens, who currently serves as the president of the Cyber Club at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, plans to become a software developer when he graduates in a couple of years. For the time being, his focus is on enjoying college while learning all he can from his professors in the Cyber Systems Department. Thanks to faculty advisor Dr. Ross Taylor, who Behrens describes as “the best,” students involved in UNK’s Cyber Club get the chance to combine learning with having fun. 

Students playing a game during a weekly meeting

A typical weekly meeting with UNK’s Cyber Club often involves students playing games such as chess, Exploding Kittens, or UNO. Around holidays, they indulge in themed potluck dinners where students might engage in foods that are spooky or ones they are encouraged to be thankful for. In addition to socializing, students involved in the Cyber Club also attend workshops geared toward computer science. Some of these events take place off campus, such as at the K-State Hack-a-Thon where the weekend is spent in a lock-in environment where students get the chance to build something like a new website or app in a short amount of time. Behrens shares that he and the other officers try to organize events that are targeted to computer science, but the weekly meetings are designed to be a welcoming environment where students can get to know each other.

Behrens states that the club wouldn’t be what it is without the support of its faculty advisor Dr. Taylor. He understands that he and the other officers “could not do it without him” and is grateful for his dedication to “students’ experiences in general.” UNK’s Cyber Club, under Dr. Taylor’s leadership, was recently the top fundraising student organization on campus at UNK’s One Day for UNK event. They not only have fun, but they understand the importance of giving back.

Student presenting a case at K-State for Hack Thron Competition

According to Dr. Tim Obermier, who serves as Interim Chair of UNK’s Cyber System Department, the “Cyber Club is a highly engaged student community that creates a dynamic synergy for success.” He describes their meetings as  “fun (and) full of socialization” and a place that “enhances (the) future professional careers” of UNK students. He continues to share that “of all the student organizations (he’s) witnessed over four decades, this group is outstanding.”

Student working on cases during a competition The club meets every Wednesday in Discovery Hall with an average of 40 students in attendance most weeks. Anyone interested in checking out what the Cyber Club has to offer is welcome to just show up. Behrens explains it’s a great place to “make connections with people,” even for those who are not Cyber Systems majors. He shares that there have been “so many people (he has) met through Cyber Club,” something he believes can be true for others too.

By: Sandy Brannan

Category: Business and Technology, General, Marketing

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