UC joins national CyberCorps to defend America’s cyberspace

$4 million National Science Foundation award clears way for scholarships for 25 UC students

The University of Cincinnati received a $4 million award from the National Science Foundation to establish a CybersCorps Scholarship for Service program. One of six universities funded, UC’s new Bearcats Cyber Scholar Incubator will fund 25 students to complete their undergraduate or graduate degrees in cybersecurity. 

 

UC students took part in a Capture The Flag event at the Annual IT Expo at UC in 2019.

UC students took part in a Capture The Flag event at the Annual IT Expo at UC in 2019.

The NSF-funded program is a unique, full scholarship and living stipend program that supports students for up to three years while they are completing their degree in cybersecurity. As part of scholarship, student recipients agree to work in cybersecurity jobs for federal, state, local or tribal governments after graduation.

“The goal of the project is to prepare highly skilled cybersecurity scholars for government jobs that address the cybersecurity workforce shortage,” says Chengcheng Li, PhD, director of the UC Center for Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense.

For the NSF, an additional investment of more than $21 million over five years in the six universities is an investment into a more secure nation.

Core switches on a supercomputer

A look inside core switches inside a supercomputer. Photo/Courtesy NSF

"Every day, we see headlines that underscore the urgency of ensuring an adequately sized and well-trained cybersecurity workforce in the United States, particularly in government agencies," says Kim Barrett, director of NSF's Division of Graduate Education. "These diverse universities have each proposed innovative approaches to cybersecurity education and professional development that not only will support students selected for scholarships, but also increase the vitality of cybersecurity preparedness for the nation."

With the latest round of NSF funding, UC joins 78 other universities designated as CyberCorps Scholarship for Service universities along with Augusta University, Michigan Technological University, Old Dominion University, the University of Central Florida and the University of Rhode Island.

UC is also one of two of the new universities designated as a Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations, a highly selective group of higher education programs that includes only 22 universities.

Every day, we see headlines that underscore the urgency of ensuring an adequately sized and well-trained cybersecurity workforce in the United States, particularly in government agencies.

Kim Barrett, director of NSF's Division of Graduate Education

A team of undergraduate seniors presented their capstone project on securing home internet of things (IOT) to industry and the community during the 2019  annual IT Expo.

A team of UC undergraduate seniors presented their capstone project on securing "home internet of things" (IoT) to industry and the community during the 2019 annual IT Expo.

The Bearcats Cyber Scholar Incubator is a collaborative, multidepartmental team of faculty leaders including Chengcheng Li, Rebekah Michael and Hazem Said from UC's School of Information Technology of the College of Education, Criminal Justice and Human Services; Marty Emmert and Marc Cahay from the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science of the College of Engineering and Applied Science; and Richard Harknett from the Department of Political Science of the College of Arts and Sciences.

It builds on the collaboration’s past successes in the area of cybersecurity including the NSA-designated Center for Cyber Operations, the NSA/DHS-designated Center for Cyber Defense, the Ohio Cyber Range Institute, Center for Hardware and Embedded Systems Security and Trust and the Center for Cyber Strategy and Policy.

In addition, the project builds on the UC’s Early IT ecosystem where a network of high school districts, community colleges and industry are partnering with UC to make attaining a college degree accessible to all. As the director of the UC Center for Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense, Li continues his leadership of national cybersecurity education projects including the National Security Agency and the National Science Foundation programs for high school teachers and students as well as veterans.

Featured image at top: A view between two rows of supercomputer servers at the Texas Advanced Computing Center data center. Photo/Courtesy NSF

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The University of Cincinnati is classified as a Research 1 institution by the Carnegie Commission and is ranked in the National Science Foundation's Top-35 public research universities. UC's medical, graduate and undergraduate students and faculty investigate problems and innovate solutions with real-world impact. Next Lives Here.

 

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On Friday, March 5, The Cincinnati Project (TCP) will host its seventh-annual symposium titled “The Art and Science of Socially Just Community Partnered Research,” sponsored by UC’s College of Arts and Sciences and The Taft Research Center. Director of the Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE) Mohan Dutta will deliver the keynote speech. Based in New Zealand, CARE is a global organization dedicated to developing community-based solutions for social change, advocacy and activism, inspired by the conviction that health is a human right. Founded in 2016, TCP unites researchers from UC’s College of Arts and Sciences with community partners to benefit marginalized communities in Cincinnati, tackling economic, race, gender and health issues. Past TCP research has focused on high eviction rates in Hamilton County, resulting in city legislation to protect the rights of renters through an eviction prevention plan. In addition to the keynote speaker, the symposium will include discussion panels from area organizations such as Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME), the Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio, the Center for Closing the Health Gap, and UC faculty researchers. Topics will include ways in which community-based research can be conducted in socially just ways, in order to benefit the communities it is designed to serve. The symposium will be held virtually via Zoom from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and is free and open to the public. For more information or to register, please visit The Cincinnati Project.

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