2017 Rising Star Awards

Maria McClelland

Technical Senior Staff Member, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Department of Energy


Providing cybersecurity and computer support for some of the world’s top nuclear scientists would be a little intimidating for most people, but not for Maria McClelland.

As team leader for the Cyber Security Operations Center at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, she thrives in the technically daunting and fast-moving environment at the science and energy research facility, where she focuses on the lab’s computer and network operations.

“McClelland’s drive for partnership, camaraderie and relentless focus on continuous improvement enables delivery of best-in-class cyber capabilities in support of ORNL’s mission,” Deputy CIO Kris Torgerson said.

Among other activities, McClelland assembled a team of seven analysts and two students who developed and deployed a tiered model for assessing and resolving cyber alerts and computing issues at Oak Ridge. She also deployed a ticketing system that uses consistent terminology so that researchers’ data can be mined for future use, and she worked with the lab’s Cyber and Information Security Research Group to address gaps in commercial tools that needed lab-specific fixes.

Along the way, she adopted open-source tools as a lower-cost alternative to commercial offerings for identifying suspicious behavior on the lab’s networks and developed metrics and generated dashboard reports to track trends in the thousands of cybersecurity issues the center deals with daily. And she accomplished all that in her first year in the job.

Furthermore, Torgerson said McClelland was instrumental in combining the lab’s tactical efforts with those of a world-class cybersecurity research and development team.

“The collaboration between the hard-core research and real-world operations results in incredibly robust, cost-effective and efficient capability than other better staffed and funded organizations,” Torgerson said.

Click here for more on all the 2017 Rising Stars

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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