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Jake Watkins

Bringing Cybersecurity in Space Down to Earth

B.S., Political Science, 2019

Jake’s biggest accomplishment at the CCI has been building out the CCI’s Space & Cybersecurity Newsletter, a monthly collection of the most important space and cyber news. In the first six months since its launch, Jake and the team have expanded distribution to over 1200 people internationally, across governments, the military, and academia. The newsletter has been instrumental in getting the CCI as an institution on the map and contributed to the CCI as Space Force’s first academic partnership, as well as an upcoming partnership with NASA and JPL.

Jake has been involved in the CCI since his Cal Poly Senior Project in 2019 and continues post-grad. His senior project fulfilled a Hewlett Foundation Grant awarded to the CCI and investigated the legal and regulatory authorities under which the California National Guard Cyber Protection Team operates. Jake grappled with complex interactions between state and federal level codes to analyze the 171st Cyber Protection Team’s operations. As CCI students tend to do, he wore many hats during that time and was also the point person for marketing for the CCI’s 2019 California Cyber Innovation Challenge (CCIC), where he demonstrated tremendous flexibility. These contributions demonstrated Jake’s work ethic and dedication and lead to him being hand-picked to be a newsletter author. Now, every month, he scrapes articles from across the professional and academic news sources to keep a pulse on the ecosystem of cybersecurity in space and stay on the cutting edge. He dedicates himself to producing timely, high-quality, relevant, and educational content all while balancing a full-time job in Sacramento.

Jake Watkins and the 2019-2020 California Assembly Fellows
Jake Watkins and the 2019-2020 California Assembly Fellows

After graduating from Cal Poly in June of 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science, Jake went on to be a prestigious Capital Fellow, working in the California State Legislature. After his fellowship ended, he went on to his current role working in the Assembly, as a communications consultant. Jake facilitates that Assembly members are keeping up with their constituents and communicating what they are working on in Sacramento. On his CCI experience, Jake says that his work on the newsletter helped him hone his policy communication skills. Jake noted the diverse range of backgrounds that students at the CCI have and the horizontal work structure allowing students to work on hands-on projects with working professionals saying that when “when you have the opportunity to communicate things [through projects at the CCI] it really becomes plug and play” to apply those skills down the line.

“Whatever it is, you know how to work with these complex, intricate subjects and bring them down to earth in a way that people can understand and digest.”

He cites the importance of telling a story; in all types of communications, people want to know what is happening and why it’s important. People know about cybersecurity in general but it is crucial for communicators to bring it down to earth and explain why they should care.

Learn More About Jake's Projects

Sign up for the CCI Space & Cybersecurity Newsletter

Read the Hewlett Report

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