While most people log onto their computers to surf the internet, play games or read the news, Hudney Piquant, cyber solutions architect and Rochester University graduate, logs onto his computer to test out ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence tool that generates answers to questions, prompts, chapters of books and more.
“As someone who works in cybersecurity, I like to go on ChatGPT and test all of the different things it can do because it is going to be changing the future of technology,” Piquant said, who works as a solutions architect for Synack, a cybersecurity firm.
Piquant was awarded the “Most Inspiring and Up and Coming” award by Cyber Scoop, a popular news outlet in the cybersecurity field, in October 2022. This award is given to cybersecurity leaders in private and public sectors.
And while Piquant’s cybersecurity career has taken him across the globe to speak at large tech conferences, such as Security BSides in India, he got his start in information technology at RU.
Encouraged by former professor Dale Pauls, whom Piquant knew from his hometown church in Stamford, Connecticut, Piquant came to Rochester University in 2003. During that summer, Piquant became a student worker in the IT department and decided to pursue a career in computer science.
“I had originally come to RU in hopes of pursuing philosophy. I had talked with Dr. John Barton who encouraged me to try computer science since I could make more of a living that way. I walked out of that conversation with him and changed my major,” Piquant said.
As a student worker, Piquant helped faculty, staff and students with their computers, helped wire the Ham Library and other various IT tasks, which gave him the experience he needed to launch his career in cybersecurity.
After graduating from RU, Piquant worked a number of roles in IT and cybersecurity, including working as an information security analyst for the Federal Reserve and as an web applications engineer for GM Financial.
While in college, Piquant competed on the men’s soccer team. “Early on in my soccer career, we were playing against our rivalry at the time, Macomb. We ended up beating them, but we were tied in overtime and I scored the winning goal. I remember doing a back-flip because we were so excited.”
During Piquant’s time at RU, he met his wife, Erika (Watson, ‘04) while preparing for Celebration, a variety show that showcased the social clubs on campus. Erika was leading the choreography for the dance ensemble for the show and Hudney was featured in the ensemble as they performed the Michael Jackson song, “Thriller.” After Celebration, Hudney and Erika both competed in a dance off against each other. To this day, they still laugh and debate about who won.
Now married for 16 years, they have two daughters, Akira, 15, and Anye, 3. Erika started her own wedding planning business called Posh and Prim, which provides wedding planning services in Dallas and Metro Detroit. Akira, following in her mother’s entrepreneurial footsteps, has her own baking business called Bella De Bakery, where she makes custom cakes and other pastries. Erika homeschools both girls, which allows the family to travel. They are planning on spending the upcoming month of March in Europe.
Aside from traveling, spending time with family and logging onto ChatGPT, Piquant is writing a book that will merge the world of technology hacking and the gospel.
“One of my passions is giving the gospel and I am trying to explain to people how hacking has been around since the beginning of the Bible, in Genesis 3 or the fall of man. I want to use my cybersecurity background and knowledge and merge that with my passion of telling others about the gospel,” he said.