Navigating a Career Shift: Mackenize Morris Unlocks Success with SANS Education and Immersive Live Events

BETHESDA, MD, April 20, 2023 – SANS Institute, the foremost authority in global cybersecurity training, is delighted to showcase the exceptional success story of Mackenize Morris, a chemical engineering graduate who pivoted to a thriving cybersecurity career after attending a variety of SANS live events and training.

Stuck in a rut, Mackenize Morris was a process controls engineer who came to find that chemical engineering was not the career for him. He had a bachelor’s degree and an MBA, but these credentials weren’t helping him find satisfaction in his work.

Following a conversation with his mentor about his discontent in his current position, Morris transitioned to an available information security role within the organization.

“I didn’t have the experience, but I figured I had an interest in computers, and I like to play video games, and I had taken a Java course in high school,” Morris said. “So, I threw my hand up and said, I’ll do it.”

In his system administration role, cybersecurity fell into his area, and he needed to learn how to be an effective security professional, so he turned to SANS Institute for a course.

Morris’s interest was piqued once he had taken his first SANS course, and he then attended live in-person events, where his interest soared. Morris recalled a pivotal moment during a SANS live event, where he realized, “Yes, this is what I want to be doing,” and shifted his focus to having a career in cybersecurity, specifically industrial control system security. Realizing all the courses he had taken could be rolled into a master’s degree, he enrolled in the master’s degree program at SANS Technology Institute (

“Taking courses at SANS has truly propelled my career in a new and better direction,” said SANSFIRE 2022 attendee Morris, who has now successfully transitioned to supporting SANS training as a teacher’s assistant, “and attending live events has made a difference.”

Today, Morris finds his career extremely fulfilling as a senior industrial consultant for Dragos, where he is creating a roadmap to cybersecurity maturity for critical infrastructure.

“My advice,” said Morris, “if you're going to take a single SANS course, I highly recommend that it's in person at one of the six national events or one of the six larger SANS events. You gain so much value and experience at SANS live in-person events because there's so much to learn just from a casual conversation with people talking about their experiences in cybersecurity or in your industry; there's so much to learn and soak up from both your classmates and your instructors, and you can build connections with hundreds of other cyber professionals in attendance.”

Morris emphasized, "The value of these conferences reaches far beyond the classroom – it truly facilitates remarkable career advancements."

One of the many events Morris has attended includes SANSFIRE, upcoming July 10-15 in Washington, DC, or Live Online. Learn to combat the latest cyber threats through cutting-edge training delivered by real-world practitioners. Emulate success stories like Mackenize and seize this extraordinary opportunity to elevate your skills or start your cybersecurity career. To learn more and register,

About SANS Institute

The SANS Institute was established in 1989 as a cooperative research and education organization. Today, SANS is the most trusted and, by far, the largest provider of cybersecurity training and certification to professionals in government and commercial institutions worldwide. Renowned SANS instructors teach more than 60 courses at in-person and virtual cybersecurity events and on demand. GIAC, an affiliate of the SANS Institute, validates practitioner skills through more than 35 hands-on technical certifications in cybersecurity. The SANS Technology Institute, a regionally accredited independent subsidiary, offers master's and bachelor's degrees, graduate certificates, and an undergraduate certificate in cybersecurity. SANS Security Awareness, a division of SANS, provides organizations with a complete and comprehensive security awareness solution, enabling them to manage their "human" cybersecurity risk easily and effectively. SANS also delivers a wide variety of free resources to the InfoSec community, including consensus projects, research reports, webcasts, podcasts, and newsletters; it also operates the Internet's early warning system–the Internet Storm Center. At the heart of SANS are the many security practitioners representing varied global organizations, from corporations to universities, working together to support and educate the global information security community.