‘Passionate Advocate’ Lands Spot on List of Top 50 African Americans in Tech



By Casey Moffitt

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Maurice Dawson, assistant professor of information technology and management at Illinois Institute of Technology, was named among the 50 Most Important African-Americans in Technology by the Journal of Black Innovation, which cited his accomplishments in teaching and research at Illinois Tech.

Dawson, who is also the director and distinguished member of the Center for Cyber Security and Forensics Education (C2SAFE) at Illinois Tech, was recognized as a world-renowned cybersecurity expert who is consulted by government and industry across the globe. The Journal of Black Innovation noted his leading research in the areas of counterterrorism, human trafficking prevention, and countering online extremism.

The journal pointed to Dawson’s research on domestic terrorism, which was presented by student researchers Andreas Vassilakos (ITM/M.A.S. CYF ’21) and Jose Luis Castanon Remy (M.A.S. ITM 2nd Year) at the 2019 International Criminology Conference. “Illicit Activities Beneath the Surface Web: Investigating Domestic Extremism on Anonymous Social Media Platforms” was published in the Holistica Journal of Business and Public Administration in 2021. Dawson also is the co-editor of Developing Next-Generation Countermeasures for Homeland Security Threat Prevention and New Threats and Countermeasures in Digital Crime and Cyber Terrorism. He has been featured on WGN Chicago as an expert on extremist online activity.

“During the pandemic, we have seen the critical role cybersecurity has played,” Dawson says. “My goal is to bring cybersecurity education to the classrooms in the United States regardless of race or class, increasing availability as this is important to national security.”

Dawson has been lauded for his teaching credentials, earning Illinois Tech’s Teaching Award for the College of Computing in 2021 and its Education Excellence Award in 2019. While at Illinois Tech, he also was awarded a fourth Fulbright Scholar Grant to teach and conduct cybersecurity research at the Botswana International University of Science and Technology in 2021.

“Professor Dawson is also a passionate advocate for a technology and cybersecurity industry that is more accessible and representative of the community it serves,” the journal notes. “This advocacy has led Professor Dawson to mentor students all over the world and make academic contributions aimed at addressing the lack of minority women in leadership positions in health technology, nuclear energy, and the federal government.”

Photo: Assistant Professor of Information Technology and Management Maurice Dawson