Employee Spotlight May 2024

Kaylee Buzard

Information Security and Risk Management Senior Analyst

Meet Kaylee Buzard! While marine biologist and medical examiner were top career contenders, Kaylee found that her creativity and problem-solving skills were put to best use in the Information Security and Risk Management realm. Kaylee is up and at ‘em at 3:30 a.m. (you read that right), hitting the gym, catching up on the news, and enjoying a cup of joe, and snuggling with her pups. Kaylee enjoys keeping her hands and mind busy – from crafting and gardening to studying for the Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC) exam. We’re lucky to have this go-getter on our team!

Q: What is your role at the university? I am an Information Security and Risk Management Senior Analyst on the Infrastructure Risk Management Team. I support OTDI and MITS units as a security coordinator.

Q: How long have you worked at Ohio State? This summer will mark 10 years at OSU.

Q: What are you currently working on? What does a typical day look like for you? My days start at 3:30 a.m. when I wake up to go to the gym. When I get home, I enjoy a cup of coffee while snuggling with the dogs and catching up on the news before I log in for the day. An average workday is spent supporting MITS customers, collaborating with different teams, and studying for the Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC) exam. I recently worked with a few departments to discuss using loaner laptops while traveling internationally.

Since I work from home, I get to cook a lot of healthy and delicious meals. I also get to take breaks to go outside with the dogs for a bit of fresh air and sunshine. Evenings are typically spent on the couch watching tv, reading, or doing something crafty. In case you are wondering, yes, I do go to bed early.

Q: What do you like best about your job? Work/life balance and the ability to use logic and creativity to solve problems. It is fantastic because while some tasks don’t change, each situation I encounter is a bit different from the last. It also allows me to live a healthier lifestyle than some of my past jobs.

Q: How do you create and innovate? By sticking my nose where it may not belong and listening to the ideas and concerns of others around the university. I enjoy partnering with different areas to see things from their perspective. Doing so has really helped me understand how the university works. For example, when I worked in CFAES I functioned as a liaison between the IT and Finance departments improving communication and identifying where we could improve the processes overall for IT-related purchases that were not covered by the service level agreement. During my first year in OTDI I started working with Export Control when we saw an uptick in people traveling internationally. This led to discussions with other units to explore the need for guidance regarding the use of loaner laptops.

Q: Did you always know this is what you wanted to do as a career? I never imagined I would have a career in IT. When I was a kid, I was a big nerd and wanted to be a marine biologist or archeologist. That all changed after I watched “The Silence of the Lambs.”  I became very curious about a career in criminal justice and the show “CSI: Vegas” only solidified that desire.  At first, I wanted to collect and analyze evidence from crime scenes but that quickly evolved into the desire to become a medical examiner. I started my college education with a major in forensic science. I even spent a few days with a technician in a crime lab in Harrisburg, PA while my family was on vacation. Unfortunately, life threw a huge curveball at me before finals my freshman year that derailed all my plans. I studied forensic science for another year before making the tough decision to change my major. I became a fine art major, graduated in 4 years and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. All I knew is that I needed to make money to survive so I started applying for jobs. I landed a gig with a for-profit education institution and have been working in higher education ever since. I’ve kind of fallen into every job I’ve had and didn’t start pursuing a career in information security until after working at OSU.

Q: How did your career path bring you to work for us? I stuck my nose where it didn’t belong. Ha, ha! I was working as an administrative assistant in the CFAES ITS department and we just went through the transition to become MITS customers. There was a change in leadership and the annual security report was due soon. My new supervisor had a lot on his plate at the time, so I offered to take a crack at it. I’m not kidding when I say I printed a copy of the ISCR and the IRS, popped them into a binder, took it home and dove in! As crazy as it sounds, I really enjoyed learning about information security. From there I got involved in as many meetings, conversations, and projects as possible. My work as the security coordinator eventually led to working with other departments in CFAES to improve security, processes, and highlight gaps per the ISCR. When the opportunity to apply for a position on the Infrastructure Risk Management Team opened, I didn’t hesitate. It felt like a great step in my career.

Q: Why did you choose to work at Ohio State? 100% honesty, I was looking for a job to escape a bad employer.

Q: Of what are you most proud? When the pandemic started and everyone was sent home to work remotely, I got aggressive about paying off debt. I paid off an absurd amount of debt over 4 years and have been living debt free for nearly a year!

Q: What was your very first job? In high school my parents owned a tanning salon. Every day after school I’d run the salon until close and I’d help on the weekends too. My mom appreciated the unpaid labor, but hated the fact that I wouldn’t use the tanning beds. She said I was bad for business and looked like a ghost behind the front desk. Ha, ha!

Q: Where did you go to college? Defiance College

Q: Where are you from originally? Dalton, Ohio

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why? New Zealand to enjoy the culture and the sites/landscape. Who doesn’t want to escape reality and visit the Shire?

Q: What do you do for fun outside of work? Do you have any hobbies? I’m crafty and collect hobbies. By this I mean I knit, crochet, on rare occasions sketch or paint, enjoy photography, I am currently teaching myself embroidery, and I make jewelry. I have my own bench/studio and really enjoy playing with fire, metal, and stones to create beautiful things. I am always keeping my hands or my mind busy. This time of year, when the sun is coming up, I can be found tending to flowerbeds and a small garden at home. It is great when I can take herbs and veggies directly from the garden to the kitchen and cook delicious meals. With that being said, I can’t keep houseplants alive. I killed so many plants indoors that I found a pattern online for an Audrey 2 from “Little Shop of Horrors” and crocheted a couple of man-eating plants to decorate our home library. I enjoy reading non-fiction books and learning new things. Eventually, I’d like to get into beekeeping but that will take some planning.

Q: What is something most people might be surprised to know about you? I’m not sure how surprising anything will be after dropping bombs about growing up with aspiring career goals of being a medical examiner and waking up at 3:30 a.m. Ha ha!  I guess most folks would find it interesting that I have earned certifications in jewelry repair and diamond setting from a trade school here in Ohio. Also, I live and work remotely from Canton, Ohio. For those wondering what a commute to campus looks like for me, it is a 40-minute drive to the Wooster campus and a 2-hour drive to Columbus.

Q: Best concert you’ve ever been to? I took my sister to see A Perfect Circle back in 2017 and it was a great experience. There were signs posted everywhere about no photography so much so that if caught, you’d be kicked out. Due to that, everyone in the arena was engaged in the show and it was a completely different atmosphere than some of the other concerts I’ve attended. It was great to share that experience with my sister because she lived in a Tennessee at the time, so it was a special trip home for her.

Q: Do you have a favorite book or movie? Since May is mental health awareness month, I’ll mention my favorite book from artist Derek Hess titled, “31 Days in May.”  He is a Cleveland based artist who struggles with mental illness and this book came about when he was doing daily sketches during the month of May 2017 and posting them on Instagram. His style may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I found his work when I was going through a really challenging time in 2007 and it really resonated with me.

Q: It’s 9 p.m. on a Saturday. What are you doing? Typically, either watching a movie and trying not to fall asleep on the couch or getting ready for bed. Getting up early all week long has its drawbacks.

Q: Give three adjectives that best describe yourself. Kind, Inquisitive, Unexpected