DeVry and Keller alumnus recalls return trip to talk cyber security in Washington

By DeVry University

Ask John Lohrentz about cyber security and he’ll have some interesting stories to share. There are the “everyday” stories about removing ransomware and restoring data for an organization whose computer systems were shut down. And there are even more interesting stories about helping lead police to apprehend a drug dealer, and leading a team of students who took 3rd place in Illinois for a national cyber security competition.

But to Lohrentz, his greatest story is being invited to the White House by the Office of Science and Technology Policy. There he joined industry, academic and government leaders to discuss cyber security competitions and their role in developing a highly skilled national cyber security workforce. He was invited not just once, but twice.

“It was an honor to be invited back to the White House. A rare opportunity for which I am grateful,” Lohrentz said. “I enjoy working with students to help them hone their skills in cyber security, whether they are preparing for competitions or entering the workforce. To be able to share insights about the significance of competitions in developing the nation’s talent pool of cyber security professionals is of great importance to me.”   

The first time Lohrentz was invited to the White House in 2016, he was part of a team that won the U.S. Cyber Challenge annual competition. He was one of many students and professionals invited because of their experience in cyber security competitions. In 2017, he was one of the few invited back.

Lohrentz, a DeVry University and Keller Graduate School of Management alumnus, works for the police department in Munster, Ind., as an intelligence analyst in computer forensics. He is also a part of the cyber security unit for Northwest Indiana Information Sharing and Security Alliance (NIISSA) under the guidance of the Department of Justice. The cyber security unit will become an instrumental part of the $53 billion 24/7 crime center expected to break ground in Northwest Indiana in 2018.

“John was professional, incredibly talented and a go-to for students who wished to deepen their knowledge about cyber security,” said Rami Salahieh, professor, DeVry’s Network & Communications Management program that Lohrentz graduated from in 2013. “He worked tirelessly preparing students for cyber security competitions and certifications and led them through many successful competitions.”

As a student, Lohrentz founded the DeVry Cyber Defense Club (DCDC), and met weekly with students until he graduated with his master’s degree from Keller in 2017. The club placed in cyber security competitions, including 3rd in Illinois at the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition and 14th at the National Cyber League (NCL) competition, both in 2015. The club’s individual scores at NCL placed in the top 10 percent of the 2,200 participants and Lohrentz was ranked 45th nationally.

Today, Lohrentz also teaches forensics at Ivy Tech in Valparaiso, Ind., to students planning to enter law enforcement, and provides training and support to the college’s cyber security club.