BOWIE – Bowie State University will receive $1.2 million through the U.S. Department of Energy during the next five years to equip people with the skills necessary for meeting the needs of the cybersecurity industry. The money is part of a $25 million grant to fund several universities making up the Cybersecurity Workforce Pipeline Consortium. […]
BOWIE – Bowie State University will receive $1.2 million through the U.S. Department of Energy during the next five years to equip people with the skills necessary for meeting the needs of the cybersecurity industry.
The money is part of a $25 million grant to fund several universities making up the Cybersecurity Workforce Pipeline Consortium. Thirteen colleges and universities along with one public school district, two national labs and a U.S. Department of Defense facility comprise the Cybersecurity Workforce Pipeline Consortium.
“Maryland is the global epicenter of cybersecurity, developing our nation’s cyber workforce to fill cyber jobs that are available now,” U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) said in a press release. “I am proud to see that Bowie State University is a partner in this new consortium to train cybersecurity workers to fill jobs today and jobs tomorrow. Through cyber education, innovation and hands-on training, we will prepare students to be our first line of defense against cyber-attacks, making our nation safer and Maryland’s economy stronger.”
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden made the official announcement on Jan. 15 at Norfolk State University in Virginia. Bowie State is the only institution in Maryland to receive money through the grant.
“As part of the consortium, Bowie State University will expand its cybersecurity research efforts, enhance its cybersecurity curriculum and increase opportunities for students to learn from real-world experiences in the field,” said Provost Weldon Jackson. “The grant will also allow Bowie State to increase its technological capability and develop additional K-12 pipeline summer programs.”
The U.S. Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration’s Minority Serving Institutions Partnerships Program provides funding for the consortium.
“This grant will help to strengthen the cybersecurity pipeline by increasing the capacity for pertinent academic training and research in National Nuclear Security Administration focus areas at minority-serving institutions (MSI),” Jackson said. “MSI faculty will engage in collaborative research and technical workshops, and students will gain meaningful mentoring experiences to increase their interest and expertise in cybersecurity.”
Lethia Jackson, associate professor in the computer science department at Bowie State, said she is “excited” for the students because of the educational opportunities the grant will bring to the university’s classrooms.
“Sandia National Labs will be giving us a forensic investigation and analysis software,” she said. “We’re going to be using that in our cyber security lab, we’re going to incorporate it in our cybersecurity curriculum so that more students will be touched by it and they will be ready to go and work for the national labs.”
Lethia Jackson said the school has a budget it will use to determine the allocation of the funds, with $300,000 being used for student support, and more money being used to acquire equipment to enhance the university’s cybersecurity lab.
Lethia Jackson said the university also requested summer funding to invite high school students to participate in cybersecurity.
Bowie State received the first installment of the grant money on Jan. 26.
“The signature program is real-world experience, research and application. We will get real work experience, case scenarios. We will get involved with cyber competitions which are case-based scenarios,” Jackson said. “We will participate with other schools, we will look at curriculum and courses that are being offered at other schools to see how we can share or duplicate.”
According to Jackson, the labs are involved to provide students with real-world work experience.
“Like I said, it’s about $300,000 worth of funding within that grant for students support, so that always helps,” she said. “It’s support for them to do research and do cybersecurity…Sandia is supposed to come up in the spring to install the software package and show us how to use it. We want to get that infused in the curriculum as soon as possible.”
Students from the 13 participating schools, including Bowie State, will over the next five years get internships at Sandia National Labs in Albuquerque, New Mexico where they will receive an experiential learning experience through exposure to cybersecurity case studies. Industry professionals will train the students and offer a hands-on cybersecurity curriculum that reflects real-world experience. The initiative will start spring 2015.