Our Team

Michael Figueroa

Executive Director

Michael Figueroa, CISSP, brings to the ACSC a diverse cyber security background, serving at times as an executive technology strategist, chief architect, product manager, and disruptive technology champion. He promotes an optimistic security approach that emphasizes the need to better assist the users, operators, and business owners in protecting their critical assets versus blaming them for being unable to properly configure and maintain complex technologies. Rather than focus on external influencers that business and mission owners have no control over, he encourages organizations to prioritize what they should do against what they are able to do, without judgement.

His past work has spanned a broad security spectrum. In the advanced technology space, Figueroa has prepared cyber technologies for transition, managed research and development applying non-security emerging technologies such as deep learning and human analytics to security problems, and led technology design and development of an innovative secure network and communications platform for cloud and mobile applications. As an enterprise security architect, Figueroa managed teams securing large-scale systems integration efforts for several U.S. Government agencies including the Departments of Defense (DoD), Homeland Security (DHS), and Veterans Affairs (VA). His business management roles have included serving as the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) of a late-stage financial services startup, as an executive at a security consulting startup, and as a strategic program advisor for CISOs at the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the World Bank Group.

Figueroa is a graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Brain and Cognitive Sciences and from the George Washington University (GWU) in Forensic Sciences, concentrating on High Tech Crime Investigations.

Kasha Gauthier

Director in Residence, Community Engagement

Kasha brings 15 years of leadership experience to the ACSC. After experiencing firsthand, the effects of a security breach, she developed a deep passion for Cybersecurity and its mission.  Her work with ACSC focuses on strengthening the regional Infosec community and furthering ACSC’s education and thought leadership programs. She helps develop the next generation of leaders through her professional and extracurricular activities, and has a particular interest in cybereducation and cybersafety.  

Professionally, she’s held a range of strategic positions in financial management, operations, marketing, human resources and strategy at organizations ranging from startups to Fortune 100 companies. Her specialty is helping companies achieve their near-term objectives, while building healthy teams and companies for the future. Most recently she was CFO/COO at Pwnie Express, an Infosec startup focused on IOT threats. Previously, she worked at RSA Security, where she held a series of roles across marketing, operations, and finance. Prior to that, she worked at EMC, where she led sales operations for the NY/NJ division, and implemented the Sarbanes Oxley risk control framework. She began her career in public accounting, where she earned her CPA and performed forensic audits and consulting for distressed companies. 

Kasha is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts of Amherst.  In her free time, she is often found putzing in her garden, attempting to write poetry, or playing with her kids.

Angela Palazzolo

Research Fellow

Angela Palazzolo is a Research Fellow at the Advanced Cyber Security Center (ACSC), a career Foreign Service Officer on practicum detail from the U.S. Department of State. She studies global policy and economic conditions for cyber security technology investment.

Palazzolo joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 2006. She has political and economic policy, public affairs and business facilitation experience in European Union and North American markets. She has staffed and briefed officials from the United States, European Union, Poland and Mexico up to the cabinet level. She has experience in U.S. interagency affairs. Palazzolo is a subject matter expert in U.S. trade and investment policy and negotiations, with significant experience in digital economy, internet governance, data privacy and protection; and intellectual property rights policies. In addition she has worked on issues such as financial policy, international financial institutions; sanctions, and energy policy (gas, oil, nuclear, renewables), emergency and crisis management policy and planning with DoD, NORAD, and DHS/CBP/OBP; homeland security and cross border affairs; and environmental, science, tech and health policy.

Her postings include Poland (twice), Mexico and Washington, DC. Prior to the State Department, she was a Security Training Consultant for USIS, and an Alliance Manager/Consultant for American Management Systems (now CGI).  She interned with the Congressional Management Foundation in Washington, DC and Instituto Hemingway in Bilbao, Spain. Palazzolo is a graduate of Virginia Tech in International Studies/Political Science with a minor in Spanish.  She also holds a B.S. in Business Administration with honors (Management and International Business) from Old Dominion University.  She speaks/reads Spanish and Polish, and reads some French and Italian.

Jane Stoy

Program Support Specialist
jstoy@acscenter.org; 781-271-2266

Jane joined ACSC in 2014 and works with ACSC staff and members to ensure programs, communications, events, scheduling, etc. move forward in a timely fashion.

Research Interns and Project Descriptions

John Ellis

Boston College Graduate Student
Master of Science, Cybersecurity Policy and Governance

The ACSC is launching a project to enhance the understanding of the barriers that negatively impact the ability of law enforcement and the corporate sector to form a unified force in addressing cyber security.  This project will focus on gaining a better understanding of the challenges and the cultures that exist on both sides in an effort to create a plan to address these challenges through a standardized training curriculum and technical assistance.  Targeted interviews and literature searches will provide the background and insight to allow for the creation of policies, procedures and recommendations that will aim at protecting corporate interests while enhancing approaches to homeland security.

If you would like to participate as a law enforcement agency or as a private sector corporation in these targeted interviews, please feel free to contact us at info@acscenter.org. 

Michael Jerge

Boston College Graduate Student
Master of Science, Cybersecurity Policy and Governance

A growing problem in industry and cyber security is the lack of definition and spaces within cloud infrastructure. That is, there remain different philosophies on how to approach cloud security from a business solutions perspective. It is the goal of the researcher and project to understand the problem space associated with cloud security, and the interconnections which arise from proper definition. The prospective end product will be an ecosystem map which will delineate the cloud security boundaries between business and IT departments.

Jordan Kaplan

University of Massachusetts Amherst Undergraduate Student
Bachelor of Science, Computer Systems Engineering

Jordan is doing research on the Massachusetts cyber security market. He has compiled a list of most of the cyber security companies that have physical offices in Massachusetts. Using this list, he was able to find trends and patterns within the data. The end goal for the list is to make it easier to find the specific type of cyber security company a customer would need.

Adriana Petrillo & Jeremy Ross

Boston College Graduate Students
Master of Science, Cybersecurity Policy and Governance

Project description pending.

Brian Zick

Union College Undergraduate Student
Bachelor of Science, Computer Engineering and Classics

An analysis of the cyber security workforce and job market will consist of three major steps. First, data concerning cyber security positions, e.g. titles, qualifications, location, will be collected and curated into an database on a relatively frequent basis. In addition, local cyber security experts will be surveyed about their views on and experience with the cyber security workforce. Second, algorithms will be developed to characterize cyber security positions within the United States and their geographically derived similarities and differences. Finally, a report will be produced to emphasize the changes in desired requirements throughout the U.S. and give individual regions of the U.S. their own personality.