Carnegie Mellon University
September 21, 2015

INI Student Joins Official Drum Line of Pittsburgh Steelers

By Jessica Corry

Jennifer Burns marches to the beat of her own drum, most recently on Heinz Field as the latest addition to the Pittsburgh Steelers drum line. The Pittsburgh Steeline performs live for all Steelers home games as the official game-day entertainment, in addition to various events throughout the region including Steelers training camp, major area parades and much more.

A first year in the Information Networking Institute’s (INI) Master of Science in Information Security (MSIS), Burns has seamlessly transitioned from band director to software engineer. She earned her undergraduate degree in music education and taught for several years before deciding to study computer science. Joining the Pittsburgh Steeline offered her the perfect opportunity to play percussion as a hobby while pursuing a graduate degree at Carnegie Mellon University. She is not the only Tartan with rhythm as she is joined on the snare line by a mechanical engineering Ph.D. student.

“I started watching football when I was young, and I'm definitely still a fan,” said Burns. “It’s really neat to be so close to the action when performing at the games!”

According to Burns, the INI is her ticket to becoming an expert in the information security field. She received a full tuition scholarship and stipend through the Scholarship for Service program, offered by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and co-sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Burns hopes to work in a leadership position at the federal government where she can use her skills to protect the public and make a positive impact.

“The lecturers of my classes are information security experts, and I love knowing that I'm learning from people who have such a wealth of information and real-world experience,” she explained. “There are also many opportunities to network with current students, alumni and hiring professionals, which I feel is unique in comparison to my previous college experiences.”

You can spot Jennifer playing her snare drum on the sidelines at the eight Steelers home games scheduled this season!