By Betsy Simon
Dec 16, 2019
Career opportunities have been aplenty for Nick Sturgeon, ’03, since he graduated from Indiana State University.
Starting with the information technology contract work, the Indiana State Police and now as director of information security for Indiana University Health, he was able to bridge his management information systems major with a technology background and enter the cybersecurity field as it was beginning to take off.
“One last classes I took at ISU was an information security course, which was a relatively new topic at that point in time. I’ve always interested in law enforcement and ISU had just one class available at the time and you had to be senior in your final semester to get in,” he recalled.
Sturgeon left Indiana after graduation and headed west until he decided to return to the state. Upon his return, his work included a contract position with the State of Indiana’s Office of Information Technology. In early 2006 he decided to pursue his interest in law enforcement by applying for the Indiana State Police’s 67th Recruit Academy.
“There were 6,000 applicants but because of my management information systems degree and working in information technology, I had a competitive advantage over others with criminal justice degree and I was able to receive an invitation to start the Recruit Academy in January 2007,” he said.
Sturgeon graduated from the ISP Recruit Academy in July 2007 and started as probationary Trooper assigned to Indiana State Police Indianapolis District, working the road enforcing criminal and traffic law. He patrolled Marion County on road duty for two years.
In 2009, Sturgeon sought a sergeant position working in IT with the Indiana State Police.
“I was only one with a formal education and experience in IT, thanks to my degree from ISU,” he said.
“A lot of what I did was work directly with end users and higher level folks. Not only did my schooling help me understand how IT is supposed to work within an organization, but it also taught me the skills I needed to understand all sides of business and use the two together.”
During Sturgeon’s four years at State, he served as a student justice, was an IFC justice, a senator in the Student Government Association representing the Greek commuters, was selected to Mortar Board and Alpha Lambda Delta, served on multiple homecoming and spring week committees, including being the chair his junior year and was a finalist for the outstanding Junior Award.
“My time at ISU was the most I could have made of it. I wanted to be at a place where I could be involved and have an immediate impact. Coming from a small southern Indiana town, I wanted personalization of my education and interaction with my professors, who knew me and my interests,” he said. “My oldest daughter started as a freshman at ISU this fall and she chose State for a lot of the same reasons I did and it’s really nice to be able to have that experience to share with her.”
Not all of the opportunities Sturgeon has experienced have come in the form of job experience. During his professional career, Sturgeon has worked multiple Indy 500’s, Brickyard 400’s, supported public safety IT during Super XLVI and participated in the first State of Indiana Statewide cybersecurity exercise. He also had two opportunities to travel to Tel Aviv, Israel to represent the State of Indiana as part of a trade delegation.
In 2014, Sturgeon enrolled at Purdue University seeking a master’s in cyber forensics.
“Not quite a year into program, the State of Indiana was in the process of putting together two statewide cyber security efforts through the Indiana Office of Technology in collaboration with other entities and I was approached about managing the programs and was offered the position with the Indiana Office of Technology in July 2015. I left the Indiana State Police after eight years to serve as manager of the Indiana Information Sharing Analysis Center and the State’s Security Operations Center.”
In 2017, Sturgeon began serving as director of security operations center for Pondurance, which sells security services to companies, and a year later he started as a cyber-consultant with Ernst and Young, working with Fortune 500 companies domestic and international helping to advise, consult and access their security.
When Sturgeon received his most recent opportunity this year in May to serve as director of information security for Indiana University Health in Indianapolis he knew that it was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up. He’s now responsible for the management of relationships between the two organizations from a cybersecurity perspective, working to ensure that patient, confidential and other sensitive information isn’t breached.
Sturgeon credits much of his career growth and successes to the educational foundation he built at State.
“I didn’t fully realize the value of my MIS degree until five or six years after graduation, but having a major in management information systems has helped me talk to clients and be able to understand their lingo and how to speak in technical terms,” he said. “A lot of hard work went into my degree, but it’s paid off. Had I not gone the business route, I feel the opportunities that have presented themselves to me may not been there.”