I’m RJ Nunnally and am currently 27 years old. I have lived in Maryland all my life, originally in Owings Mills, moving to Westminster in 1994 and currently Ijamsville (Frederick) as of 2016. Throughout my life, I have held a continual interest in anything electronic with particular interest in computers. Even early on I knew I wanted to major in a computer related field; while still in high school I completed Project Lead the Way, an introductory engineering program intended as a primer. From there, I started my college career at the University of Maryland, College Park for Computer Engineering. I spent two years there before deciding move away from engineering and into the more hands-on field of Information Systems at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. In addition to the IS major, I also declared myself as a Computer Science major (secondary). The word in the parenthesis had a series of unintended consequences – it meant that I was assigned an Information System major adviser, not a Computer Science major adviser, and since Computer Science classes are typically harder, my IS classes failed to make any progress towards the CS degree. It’s not a big deal, but had I taken the CS courses I would be closer towards an IS/CS double major.
I have twice graduated from UMBC – first in Summer 2013 with a B.S. in I.S. (a completely appropriate abbreviation) and second in Spring 2015 with Master’s Degree in Cybersecurity. Additionally, I took SANS 401, a course offered by the SANS Technology Institute, which covers a wide variety of cyber security topics. I then attempted and successfully passed the GSEC examination with a final score of 94% in December 2013. The following year, I passed the GCIH and EC-Council’s CEH, both with 97% scores.
My academic credentials only serve to bolster my own experience and knowledge. For as long as I can remember, I have pursued personal projects related to my field, many of which you will read about on this site. Just to name a few accomplishments, I planned and built my first entirely new computer when I was 13, I had a water cooled, overclocked desktop at 15, and I built my own engine management system (Megasquirt 2/extra), installed it on a car, installed a turbo charger, and tuned it when I was 20. I have also taught myself a number of programming languages over the years.
Early on, I was given a hand-me-down Samsung 286 complete with MS-DOS 3.3 and GW-BASIC. I was maybe six or seven years old at the time so I lacked a real understanding of the language, but I was still able to read the manual and produce simple programs with I/O and simple songs using the “play” command. I stuck with various dialects of BASIC until Junior year of high school when I took Programming II – I was allowed to pass out of Programming I – which was taught using Borland C++. From there I moved to Java at UMD and C# .NET the following summer, self-taught at work for a local technology contractor. I have become considerably more well-versed and now write programs in COBOL of all languages.
So it is clear I am a very STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) oriented individual, but I also have an artistic side. Initially I took piano lessons before fourth grade – I forgot how old I was exactly, but they fell aside in favor of trumpet starting in fourth grade. I played the trumpet from fourth grade until 10th grade when I switched to the double french horn and mellophone (marching band), but of course I also continued to play trumpet here and there. My senior schedule did not allow for band and it is there my instrumental journey has largely come to a halt. However, I am also interested in photography and started with a film body, an Olympus OM-10 in high school. I received a Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT for Christmas 2006 and shot that until I traded up to a Canon EOS 5D later on. During my tenure at UMD, I was heavily involved in the Terrapin Photography Club and in fact was voted in as an officer prior to my move to UMBC. I continue to shoot both for myself and professionally.