Road to Commencement: Daniel Hamilton

Daniel Hamilton stands outside with trees in the background

Daniel Hamilton will receive a bachelor of science degree in cybersecurity analytics and operations at Penn State Brandywine's commencement ceremony on Dec. 17.

Credit: Daniel Hamilton

Name: Daniel Hamilton

Major: Cybersecurity Analytics and Operations

Graduation Date: Dec. 17, 2022

Daniel Hamilton, who will receive his bachelor of science degree in cybersecurity analytics and operations at Penn State Brandywine’s fall commencement ceremony on Dec. 17, reflects on his time as a student at Brandywine.

Brandywine: How did you choose Brandywine?

Hamilton: It was really just a culmination of everything lining up. We left the active duty military and I knew what I wanted to get into — cybersecurity — but I wasn't quite sure how to get there. My wife's job brought us to Pennsylvania. She's the one that actually came across the cybersecurity degree being fully achievable at the Brandywine campus. And that just happened to be pretty close, so the stars aligned.

Brandywine: Were you in the service immediately prior to coming to Brandywine?

Hamilton: Yes, I spent 10 years active duty in the Coast Guard. And then stumbled into my love of cybersecurity there, so left to pursue that. I received a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Ohio State before joining the Coast Guard.

Brandywine: Did anything surprise you about coming back to an undergraduate campus after your time in the service?

Hamilton: I think what surprised me initially was the credit I had achieved from the other degree still applied even though it had been a while. I didn't really have a lot of expectation or really an idea of what going back to school was going to be like again. I've done it before, but it's always different, different university, different time. It was a good experience. It was right when COVID hit though, so it was the beginning transition to a lot of remote learning.

Brandywine: What attracted you to the Coast Guard? And how did your time in the service prepared you for your future career?

Hamilton: Originally it was the Coast Guard because I like the idea of being able to serve, but also live in the country that I was serving. When you're in the Coast Guard, for a majority of your career, unless you seek it, you will be in the United States. The military helped prepare me by instituting a successful work ethic. It Instilled the mental fortitude and endurance to go the extra mile to not only achieve but excel. And it provided a clear view of what's possible when you set your mind to something.

Brandywine: How has Brandywine supported you?

Hamilton: I was put in contact with Dr. (Andy) Landmesser (assistant teaching professor of information sciences and technology) pretty quick from the start. He helped me with the application process and all that. He's been instrumental in pretty much my whole time here. He's my adviser as well. A lot of guidance. But all the professors in IST — Nannette D'Imperio (lecturer in IST) and Dr. Martin Yeh (assistant professor of IST) — they have all been pretty influential in the process.

Brandywine: What got you interested in cybersecurity?

Hamilton: Originally it was in the Coast Guard. They solicit special jobs basically, and cybersecurity was one of them. There was just something about it. I hadn't really thought about it up until that point. I knew that it existed, but I really hadn't focused on it. Just seeing it, and learning what they do and how they do it, and the benefits that it can provide, really captivated me, brought me in. I'm very excited to get in the field.

Brandywine: What are you hoping to do after graduation?

Hamilton: I haven't really decided whether I’m going to remain with the government in that aspect or go private, but I'm keeping all options open right now. Probably leaning more toward private sector right now.

Brandywine: What advice would you give to an incoming student?

Hamilton: Remain adaptable and flexible is the biggest thing I could put out there. And get involved. Go to class. Don't be one of those students who the professor doesn't know. That's not going to get you as much as putting as much into it as you can.