I definitely wouldn’t have been where I am today if it wasn’t for Bridgewater. I met a lot of people and learned a lot of leadership skills, and then I also had support of my professors like Dave Marion.
Rachel Cullity, ’21, G’23, helps safeguard the financial systems and taxpayer money that power a plethora of Massachusetts government services.
It’s a critical job – and one she may have never found if not for the mentoring of a Bridgewater State cybersecurity instructor.
“I definitely wouldn’t have been where I am today if it wasn’t for Bridgewater,” said Cullity, a compliance officer with the state Office of the Comptroller. “I met a lot of people and learned a lot of leadership skills, and then I also had support of my professors like Dave Marion.”
Cullity began her full-time position in June, soon after earning a master’s degree in criminal justice with a certificate in cybersecurity and cyber-criminology. She protects state financial systems from fraud and cybersecurity attacks and helps agencies follow relevant laws.
“I wanted to have a really important job that gives back to taxpayers,” said Cullity, who also studied criminal justice as an undergraduate at BSU. “I wanted to play an important role in the commonwealth.”
Cullity’s experience in the comptroller’s office began as a summer intern while in graduate school at BSU. She helped develop a campaign raising awareness about suspicious emails that was subsequently implemented. For Cybersecurity Awareness Month this October, Cullity is continuing to build cybersecurity awareness among state employees.
Marion, who met Cullity in his introductory cybersecurity course, encouraged her to apply for the internship. She credits it with helping her see a way to use her academic knowledge in the workforce.
Cybersecurity internships provide intensive, first-hand work experience in a way that classroom instruction can’t fulfill, said Marion, who also serves as BSU’s director of information security.
“We can do a lot with simulating the technical stuff,” he said. “What’s more difficult to simulate is relationships and understanding how relationships work in an organization.”
While at BSU, Cullity also served as president of the Graduate Professional Student Association and criminal justice honor society. Now she is the director of young professionals for the AGA Boston chapter, an organization for workers and students involved in government financial management.
Her commitment to giving back stands out, Marion said.
“Her leadership and willingness to help others really sets her apart,” he said. “The way Rachel does it is in a very collegial, very supportive, very collaborative way.”
Cullity credits Marion’s course with planting the seed that the burgeoning field might hold a viable opportunity for her.
“He told me that I could do it,” she said. “I just had to stay focused.”
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