Halting heists: IST senior protects casino information through summer internship

Emma Riglin
August 19, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The movie "Ocean’s 11" tells the story of an elaborate casino heist run by con-man Danny Ocean and his friends, who manage to steal millions of dollars by hacking the casino’s computer systems. Penn State student Eileen Hennessy is aiming to stop the "Danny Oceans" of the world through her summer internship at Tropicana Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

As a security analyst at the casino, Hennessy handles many security projects, including helping to protect the company from breaches. She checks threat-hunting software daily to help ensure the security of all company networks and personal accounts; performs vulnerability scanning; monitors phishing campaigns; and works to update company security policies. In addition to these tasks, Hennessy is facilitating the push of a group security software onto all computers throughout the 26 properties owned by the parent company of Tropicana, Eldorado Resorts.

“My favorite part is the responsibility that my boss has given me,” said Hennessy, a senior studying information sciences and technology. “He lets me continue to grow and figure [things] out on my own. He has confidence that I will get things done correctly. The opportunity to learn from someone who believes in [my] ability to succeed is the best part [of this internship].”

“The most important thing I’ve learned is seeing how a real-world company works and how important IT and cybersecurity are to every company."

— Eileen Hennessey, Penn State senior in information sciences and technology

Her independence in this position will also be valuable to her future career, she said. She is taking advantage of the opportunity to build her resume, gain hands-on experience, prepare for the COMPTIA Security + certificate test, and network with new people in the industry.

“The most important thing I’ve learned is seeing how a real-world company works and how important IT and cybersecurity are to every company,” Hennessy said. “I enjoy what I am doing, and if I ever need help figuring something out, I have many people there to step in.”

Hennessey said that the College of IST has strongly prepared her for success in her internship – both in her daily duties and in landing the position.

“The information that I learned in my classes is extremely prevalent in my everyday work, and I understand what my boss is talking about,” she said. “The Office of Career Solutions and Corporate Engagement also helped me create and perfect my resume and prepared me on what to expect in interviews and what questions I need to ask to make sure the job is a right fit for me.”

She advised fellow students to explore all of the events and opportunities available at the University when seeking career and internship positions.

“Give every opportunity a chance and research into what you want to do,” said Hennessy. “It’s so important to ask questions during interviews so you know that the company would be a right fit for you. Also take advantage of all the resources that Penn State and IST offer, like resume reviews and career fairs, so you can get your name out there and find what interests you.”

Last Updated January 22, 2020