This project funds three two-year student cohorts. This project produces graduates who are committed to enter the federal workforce. The project includes both undergraduate and graduate students. All students in the program graduate with a Masters degree, as undergraduate students participating in the program are enrolled in a five-year combined Bachelors and Master program. Undergraduate students are primarily in the interdisciplinary cybersecurity degree program or in the computer science department with a focus on cybersecurity. Graduate scholars mainly pursue a security-related concentration program in computer science or computer/electrical engineering. Exceptionally qualified students with a security-related focus from other departments are also considered. Special attention is paid to hands-on activities that translate theory into practice. All students participate in research in their final year. The project consists of three phases: (1) recruiting students, (2) educating and mentoring the students, and (3) working with the students, OPM, and the federal agencies directly to ensure appropriate internship and permanent placements for the students.
Intellectual Merit: The wide range of cybersecurity courses provides students with an education that prepares them thoroughly for careers as information assurance and computer security professionals. The PI team has strong technical credentials in computer security and industrial research experience that makes them particularly well-suited to run the program. This project builds upon two NSF SFS capacity building grants: one that supported the establishment of interdisciplinary degrees in cybersecurity and one that developed a hands-on cybersecurity lab and associated course.
Broader Impacts: In addition to the direct and obvious benefits provided to the scholarship recipients and the federal agencies that hire them, the increased support for and attention to security also benefits other students and provides additional workforce development for both the government and private sectors. This project works with existing college support programs and engages in outreach activities with partner colleges and local K-12 schools.