Member Spotlight

Paul DePriest

DePriest 1Paul DePriest, mathematics ’75, is a cyber-information assurance analyst for Northrop Grumman Corporation, a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in unmanned systems, cyber, C4ISR, and logistics and modernization to government and commercial customers. In his spare time he enjoys racquetball, Frisbee golf, reading and performing information assurance research. DePriest lives in Madison, Ala., with his wife, Donna, and they have a 31-year-old daughter, Kathryn. He said when he was first introduced to the COSAM Dean’s Leadership Council 12 years ago he was impressed by the accomplishments of the other members on the council, making his decision to join an easy one.

DePriest 3Why else did you agree to participate on the Dean’s Leadership Council?
Several reasons: It gave me an opportunity to get re-connected with COSAM; it has given me the opportunity to meet and become friends with other COSAM graduates and supporters; it has allowed me to gain insight into the issues Auburn is facing in today’s economy and in competition with other universities; and it provided me with an excuse to visit with the math professors and better understand their concerns and desire to provide a quality product for Auburn’s students.

What talents and/or qualities do you possess that make you a valuable member of the Dean’s Leadership Council?
I’m not sure that I possess a particular talent that makes me a valuable member, but I do have a strong desire to help Auburn in any way I can, and I believe that I provide support to the dean and to COSAM in several ways. This includes providing input to him when requested as well as assisting in student recruiting.

What do you believe are the greatest strengths of the College of Sciences and Mathematics?
I believe COSAM’s greatest strengths are the concern and support that both the administration and professors show and demonstrate to the students, both COSAM majors and other students alike. I have talked to several Auburn graduates and each of them has related a story that demonstrates this quality in COSAM.

DePriest 2Of what in your career, thus far, are you most proud?
I have worked for two companies since I graduated from Auburn, both of which are United States Department of Defense contractors. I have worked on numerous defense contracts ranging from radar systems, to missiles, to computer and network security. I guess one item I am proud of is that I was invited by the University of Alabama in Huntsville to generate graduate-level engineering classes in information assurance 10 years ago, and even though I only have a bachelor of science, I am the primary instructor for the series. This has provided me an opportunity for the past 10 years to pass on knowledge that I have gained over my career to today’s college students.

DePriest 4Is there a particular area of COSAM that holds significant interest for you? If so, what is it and why?
The Department of Mathematics and Statistics will always be my primary area of interest. When I attended Auburn, I was told that I could do almost anything with my math degree. I think my career has shown that’s definitely the case. I began my career performing mathematical analysis of various defense systems and then became a software developer. Since then, I have focused on computer and network security. I believe that the math department provided me with the skills I needed to solve problems, whether mathematical, software or security related.

As a COSAM donor, what colleges/programs/scholarships do you support and why do you give to Auburn? Why do you feel it is important?
I supported COSAM scholarships through the Spirit of Auburn campaign and donate to the Leadership Council Fund, the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, the COSAM Building Fund and the Dean’s Discretionary Fund. I believe financial support is necessary due to cutbacks in state education funding. Also, I think COSAM has demonstrated that providing scholarships has resulted in the successful recruitment of quality students and has helped Auburn maintain its status as a quality educational institute