Cybersecurity at Grand Canyon University

Make a Difference in Cyber Defense and Security

In the workplace and at home, we continue to become increasingly connected through digital devices and data. Security talent is essential for enterprises, small businesses, consumers and the government to protect these technological systems and digital information from cyber threats and attacks. This means the cybersecurity industry demands more trained and skilled professionals to secure these entities.

Grand Canyon University's (GCU) College of Science, Engineering and Technology addresses rapid technological and innovative advancements in relation to cybersecurity by offering industry-informed IT degree programs. As a graduate of IT and cyber security, you will have the preparation and education to pursue a career in information technology and or cybersecurity. The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Career and Studies (NICCS) lists various types of job opportunities in cyber security.

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Earn Your Degree in Cybersecurity

GCU's Bachelor of Science in Information Technology with an Emphasis in Cybersecurity degree trains you to problem solve using technology and computer programming, while also leveraging previous experience or approved certifications. A security capstone project and applied, hands-on activities prepares you to enter the fast-growing, in-demand field of cybersecurity and information technology. You will gain an in-depth understanding and theoretical knowledge in cyber operations planning and execution, cybercrime and cyber law, as well as digital forensic investigations, security architecture, information assurance and secure system administration.

As well, the Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity degree offers a direct focus on the cybersecurity industry to produce highly skilled professionals. With an emphasis on real-world applications, students will gain extensive knowledge in the defense of all digital spaces while learning the fundamentals of data security and network architecture design.

With both degrees, students gain theoretical knowledge through firsthand projects and experiences that help them become marketable to the industry upon graduation.

Cyber Center of Excellence

Grand Canyon University's Cyber Center of Excellence (CCE) is a 2,400 square-foot cyber range with breakout rooms, five pods each with eight networked computers and a dedicated server room. The CCE provides the hands-on learning environment that combines apprenticeship with real-world experiences to develop competence and knowledge. Based on a "hackers with halos" code of conduct combined with technical controls, the CCE is a place where participants can think like a hacker, but without breaking laws or compromising fundamental ethical principles.

The Cyber Center of Excellence is used for campus and community involvement including:

  • Community education and awareness
  • Collegiate Cyber Defense and National Cyber League competitions
  • Certification Preparation Center
  • Research and vulnerability discovery
  • Faculty and staff skill development
  • Industry Expert Discussions
  • Red team exercises and events
  • Blue team exercises and events
  • Capture the Flag (CTF)
  • Summer camps
  • Vendor/range joint training and research exercises
  • Competitions

Read through the Cyber Center of Excellence Code of Conduct for rules, guidelines and expectations of CCE usage.

The Cyber Center of Excellence is located on Grand Canyon University's campus at 5115 N. 27th Ave. in Building 66. For more information on how to access the CCE, please contact the Cyber Range Coordinators by emailing [email protected].

Other points of contact include:

Learn more about GCU's security and usage of personal information in the Privacy Policy.

Hackers with Halos

GCU takes a “Hacker with Halos” perspective with cybersecurity education. Students are learning skills that they can use to help protect, serve and educate people, businesses and government. We discuss the ethical considerations we need to take when asked to use our skills to help protect and defend and how that fits into our Christian worldview.


BrainSTEM explores the current STEM industry and what students can expect from this college. Students, faculty and experts share perspectives on the importance of STEM learning, if a STEM program is right for you and why you should earn a degree in areas such as IT and computer science. Check out the latest happenings in the college, student spotlights, industry insight and more. 


Dr. Brandy Harris

Assistant Dean

Dr. Brandy Harris is the Assistant Dean and an Assistant Professor in the College of Science, Engineering and Technology at Grand Canyon University. She holds an EdD in Organizational Leadership with an emphasis in education. With nearly 20 years of experience in both private and public schools as a teacher and faculty mentor, she has become specialized in facilitating cooperative educational environments that support diverse learners. Dr. Harris’ focus on inclusive education motivates her research interests of increasing underrepresented populations in STEM fields and supporting neuro-divergent students in technology programs. Dr. Harris contributes to cybersecurity workforce development initiatives by mentoring schools seeking Center of Academic Excellence designation from the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security. In addition, she has previously served as an educational program reviewer for the State of Arizona and has participated in committee work on community cybersecurity education with the Arizona Governor’s office.


Daniel Addington
Adjunct Faculty
Daniel holds an MBA with an emphasis in Leadership and a BS in Information Technology. In addition, he has completed graduate coursework and certifications in networking, information security and assurance. He has worked in industry and academia for the past 15 years focused on the secure architecture, design and protection of critical information systems and data. His technical leadership for complex classified systems supporting the national defense has been recognized by the Department of Defense. He is a published author and currently works with a talented team of cybersecurity professionals at Grand Canyon Education, Inc.

Dwight Farris, BSIT, MsEd, PhD candidate
Dwight Farris began his successful 20-year IT career as an Electronic Technician in the U.S. Navy where he worked as a Radar and Navigation maintenance tech aboard combat ships. After many shipboard deployments, combat experience in Kuwait and an honorable discharge, he worked for the FedEx Corporation in Minnesota as a Systems Engineer, System Administrator and DBA. After nearly nine years, Farris changed companies due to reorganization, and was contracted for two years with Achieve Healthcare, a company that developed software for the hospitals and clinics. Farris' primary job was programming development in the Java language and website maintenance. After the Achieve contract ended, Farris was hired by Target Corporation as a Network Engineer where he helped to upgrade all corporate and in-store wireless network systems. Farris decided to further his education and moved to Arizona to pursue graduate degrees. His current education includes a BS in IT from the University of Phoenix, MsEd from the University of Arizona and is in the last phase of his PhD at Grand Canyon University.

Ingrid Gaviria, MIT, PhD candidate

Ingrid has a bachelor’s degree in zoology biomedical, a master’s degree in information system technology and is currently pursuing a PhD in advance management and decision science in information system. Her experience after earning her bachelor’s degree was in the pharmaceutical field while working in companies such as Baxter in the diagnostic department and Detroit Children Hospital Immunology Research for bone marrow transplant. After graduating with a master’s in IT, Ingrid worked on designing databases in companies such as Nationwide, along with securing and maintaining web servers and acting as a support analyst in companies such as Dell. Ingrid has taught all levels of IT classes from hardware to software, ethical hacking, computer forensics, networks, servers and programming languages, as well as teaching summer camps in cybersecurity for high school students in Miami Dade County Public Schools. She holds certifications in the field of IT including COMPTIA (A+, N+, Security+) CCIA (Cisco Certify Instructor) and Microsoft certification and is currently involved in blockchain technology in cryptography.

She also has set up a nonprofit organization to help battered women by training them in Microsoft Office and to later obtain jobs. She believes helping others is the most amazing job anyone could have. “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all,” Mark 9:35.

Deborah Haralson, BSIT, MaEd, MCSE
Deborah Haralson discovered her true passion for IT while going to school for engineering. She began to work with Windows, DOS and Macintosh network clients, graduating to network servers and WAN technologies. In over 25 years of experience in the IT field, she has worked for companies such as Honeywell and MicroAge, among many others. Haralson has proficiency in a wide array of hardware, software and operating systems, along with an occasional stint as a PBX & ACD admin, DBA, trainer, webmaster and application programmer. She has also worked with Microsoft server products since the original NT 3.1 beta. As a published author and co-author for several technology books, Haralson enjoys finding creative ways to teach and learn. She earned her BS in IT and MA in adult education.

Al Kelly, MCIS
Al Kelly is proud of a distinguished 20-year career in the U.S. Air Force, where he worked as a jet engine mechanic on various aircraft, in field training as a master aircraft trainer and as a security officer. After retirement, Kelly worked for a privately owned computer training company in Las Vegas and moved on to head the IT office of the largest title escrow company in Nevada. Afterward, Kelly returned to the aircraft training field, working for McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Company and later Boeing in the Middle East. In 2001, Kelly spent over 13 years in Arizona teaching IT and security programs as a professor at UAT. His education includes a BS from Embry Riddle University, an AS from the Community College of the Air Force and an MCIS from the University of Phoenix.

Khester Kendrick, MBA, MSCS
Khester is a veteran with 20+ years of experience in the telecommunications industry with extensive knowledge in wireless communications and information security. He began his career in the Army working on various electronic communication platforms and served as the intelligence and security non-commissioned officer in charge. He has worked for various companies, including T-Mobile and AT&T, where he supervised network optimization across the northwestern United States as well as other projects to include the transition from 3G to 4G and again to 5G wireless platforms. Having received both his master’s in business and cybersecurity with honors, he continues his education at the doctoral level pursuing a PhD in information technology with an emphasis on cybersecurity.

John Wilson, BS/BIS, MBA-TM

John Wilson began his career as a field service technician and has over 40 years of experience working on technology ranging from remote job entry equipment, mid-range, mainframe and virtualized distributed client-server networking systems. He has spent the last 25 years specializing in network performance reporting, tuning and proactive availability monitoring and event ticketing. He has worked for ITT, Genicom, Bellsouth, AT&T and Integrated Research as well as owning his own consulting business offering various levels of system administration and maintenance for small and medium businesses in the Phoenix area. John has worked with every version of MS-DOS from 1.0 through 6.0, as well as Windows 1.0 through 10 and all versions of Windows NT Server and Workstation since version 3.1. John has held several roles including technician, trainer, programmer, DBA, technical architect and project manager. John holds a BS in business information systems and MBA specializing in technology management.

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