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NSF award will help IUPUI train, increase diversity of next wave of cybersecurity engineers

Courtesy: CFE Media and Technology
Courtesy: CFE Media and Technology

IUPUI will train diverse undergraduate and graduate students to become the next generation of cybersecurity engineers who will help the U.S. respond to national security needs, thanks to a $3.7 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

IUPUI is one of eight new grantees of the NSF’s CyberCorps Scholarship for Service program, joining 82 other universities. The program is designed to address the demand for dedicated cybersecurity professionals in the United States.

The five-year grant will provide students with an educational experience that combines an interdisciplinary academic curriculum with real-world cybersecurity research and internship experiences. The project will promote diversity in the cybersecurity workforce by leveraging a variety of ongoing initiatives at IUPUI, including its collaborative cybersecurity degree programs, which are the first of their kind to be offered in the Indianapolis metropolitan region.

“We are using a cybersecurity engineering approach by giving our students more hands-on activities and hands-on exposure in the cybersecurity field,” said Feng Li, chair of the Department of Computer Information and Graphics Technology in the School of Engineering and Technology and principal investigator on the project. “We will connect students in this program with the state-of-the-art cybersecurity research happening at IUPUI in order to prepare them for the future.”

Upon graduation, CyberCorps students will be qualified to fight cybersecurity threats and make positive impacts through cybersecurity positions within federal, state, local or tribal governments.

“There is a critical need to grow and strengthen the cybersecurity workforce, both here in Indiana and across the nation,” said Fred H. Cate, IU vice president for research. “Indiana University is committed to preparing our students to address the challenges posed by evolving cybersecurity threats. IU is now home to two CyberCorps programs, both working to ensure our students are at the frontlines of improving our national security.”

The CyberCorps Scholarship for Service project at IUPUI will integrate the school’s existing experiential learning opportunities with those offered through CyberCorps, including career fairs and internships.

“This approach provides students with a competitive edge when entering the workforce, especially given that many industries and the federal government are looking for not only the educational background, but also the hands-on experience to complement a degree,” said David Russomanno, dean of the School of Engineering and Technology and co-principal investigator on the project. “Students will have a depth of experiential learning opportunities that will make them highly competitive. It is a transformational opportunity in terms of the stipends they receive and the highly coordinated activity with the federal government in terms of internship and job placement.”

For some students, post-graduation job placements will include government positions within Indiana, offering them an opportunity to contribute to the state’s economic development.

IUPUI’s Brian King, chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the School of Engineering and Technology, and Xukai Zou, professor of computer and information science in the School of Science, are co-principal investigators of the project.




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