Jonathan Leitschuh ’12 Awarded Inaugural Dan Kaminsky Fellowship
February 12, 2022
If you knew Jonathan Leitschuh ‘12 when he was a student at TA, you know that his tenacity is the reason we have a robotics program today. His interest in computer science, ignited by a robotics unit in Marc Chabot’s Physics and Engineering course, drove him to Marc’s door–what would it take to build a robotics team at TA?
Together, before and after school, on weekends and whenever they could grab the time, Marc and Jonathan built TA team 4886. Owen Marshall ‘13, Matt Borst ‘15, and David Henson ‘14, joined the effort. Today, 4886 is a thriving VEX Robotics team with several trips to the VEX World Championships under their belt. And the former student–now cybersecurity professional–who started it all is making news as the winner of the inaugural Dan Kaminsky Fellowship.
In his application to HUMAN Security’s Dan Kaminsky Fellowship, Jonathan Leitschuh ‘12 shared his love of finding and understanding security vulnerabilities in open source software: “Once I understand a vulnerability, my curiosity drives me to figure out how many popular projects have that same vulnerability. The side effect is, once I understand the scope of a widespread security vulnerability, I feel I have an obligation to actually fix the problem. If I don’t do it, who else will?”
Jonathan was awarded the Dan Kaminsky Fellowship in January, making him the first recipient of the prestigious award. The Fellowship was created to honor the memory of HUMAN co-founder Dan Kaminsky, a well-known cybersecurity expert who passed away in April 2021 at the age of 42. By funding a Fellow for a year “to work on open-source projects that make the world a better (and more secure) place,” HUMAN celebrates Kaminsky’s spirit of “benevolent internet innovation,” and his dedication to improving people’s lives on the internet.
When announcing Jonathan’s award, HUMAN’s principal software engineer Adrian Woodhead said, “We received a number of applications for the fellowship but one stood head and shoulders above the rest and was our top pick…Jonathan has a passion for open source and for finding and fixing security issues in open source projects.” For the next year, HUMAN will provide Jonathan a paid opportunity to pursue this passion.
The Fellowship includes both salary and employment benefits, as well as access to other resources at the company that will support and accelerate Jonathan’s work. At the end of the year, Jonathan will share his work within the cybersecurity community, presenting at the industry conferences Kaminsky loved, like Black Hat, DEF CON and RSA Conference.
Congratulations, Jonathan, from all of us at Thetford Academy!