Northcentral grad joining front lines against newest terrorist threat - computer hacking

A visit to the Grand Canyon the weekend Gregory Toler received his Master's degree in Computer and Information Security from Northcentral University put a new perspective on the recent downward dips in his own life.

"I'll admit, my life was eroding away a few years ago," Toler, who lives in New Jersey, said at a reception for the Northcentral Class of 2011. "Everybody has difficulties but your own can take on an inertia that just wears you down."

In the past three years, his six-figure salary as an electrical engineer dissipated, the adoption of a child was called off at the last minute and he had to drop out of his Master's program at Northcentral.

"My grand scheme of things wasn't just being eroded away, it was being washed away," Toler said. "I got so distracted; I couldn't concentrate on much of anything."

Ultimately, Toler decided that the setbacks could be used to strengthen his resolve rather than weaken it. The transition that had taken on the proportions of one of the seven natural wonders of the world in his mind "hadn't been my choice but it was one I had to make."

Until then, his life had pretty much wended its way as steady as the Colorado River.

"I had learned back in military academy that growth and success don't come without adversity," he said. "As soon as I decided to stop looking at the difficulties as allies instead of adversaries, things started to move forward again."

Toler, who now considers himself "re-educated and reinvented," has a new and improved future in the booming information and computer security industry.

"The more innovative those who would disrupt commerce and government computer systems, the more diligent and skilled those who keep it sure must be," he said. "Northcentral gave me the skills to make sure we stay a step or two ahead."