$2.5 Million Grant to Pace for Cybersecurity Program

News from Pace University

Many of the brightest stars in the next generation of cybersecurity professionals are being trained at Pace University’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems thanks in part to a $2.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

This project is an extension of a previous CyberCorps program that received $1 million from the NSF from 2010 through this summer. The new NSF award will bring the additional $2.5 million to advance Pace’s program over the next five years.

The grant will support 3 to 4 cybersecurity students annually, assist student research in cybersecurity, and direct several outreach programs such as the GenCyber cybersecurity program for high school teachers. The 2015 Pace GenCyber summer program for high school teachers was held in July.

Congresswoman Nita Lowey has supported Pace and the CyberCorps initiative for several years. “Safeguarding sensitive personal and corporate information must receive outsized attention in our 21st Century economy,” said Lowey. “I’m pleased these federal investments will help enhance cybersecurity education at Pace University so we can develop the professionals necessary to combat the increasing threat of hackers and cybercriminals worldwide. As Ranking Member on the House Appropriations Committee, I will continue fighting for investments that address pressing national security needs.”

“I am pleased to announce the awarding of this grant which will support a number of new students who wish to enter the emerging field of cybersecurity at Pace University,” said United States Senator Charles E. Schumer. “This funding will assist student research in cybersecurity, and direct several outreach programs – including running the GenCyber cybersecurity teachers’ workshop, a two-week program for teachers to learn how to teach cybersecurity. Cybersecurity has become an issue which affects millions of Americans as well as our critical infrastructure and national security. It is paramount that we have the training and emerging workers to address and enter this field, and I know Pace University will offer top-notch instruction to prepare these students to tackle these emanate threats.”

Joseph Ryan, PhD, the co-principal investigator on this grant, recognizes the gravity of the situation the country is facing. As an expert on homeland security and chair of Pace University’s master’s degree in the discipline, he notes that, “less than five years ago, no one was concerned about cyber security. Today, the FBI is recognizing it as the number one threat to our security. Hackers have the ability to enter our secure systems, such as power and electric, and shut it down. This grant is a major step toward securing our country.”

“With the continuous support from the NSF, Pace’s CyberCorps program is expecting to produce the next generation of cybersecurity professionals who can fit into the workplace with not only their computing expertise but also practical hands-on skills and problem-solving capabilities,” said program director, Professor Li-Chiou Chen. “Through our academic programs in the Bachelors’, Masters’ and Doctoral’ levels, the Seidenberg School has already established a great network of alumni working in the cybersecurity area in both private and public sectors, including FBI, DoD, and New York State, the new CyberCorps award will allow us to further strengthen the professional preparation of our cybersecurity students and to enhance our student pipeline through academic outreach to community colleges and high schools.”

Students who receive scholarships through this grant go on to work in government agencies for a designated period of time after graduation. The grant will support eligible cybersecurity scholars who are current Pace students, transfer students from community colleges, and new graduate students from other universities. All students supported by the grant are required to fulfill core curriculum requirements in both cybersecurity and mathematics, as well as take courses in either criminal justice, business administration, or another discipline. The students will also complete research projects and professional development activities.

Pace has been a designated National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education (CAEIAE) by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security since 2004.

The grant supports the project, “A Multiple Pathway Approach to CyberCorps – Renewal,” directed by Pace professors Li-Chiou Chen, PhD, Joseph Ryan, PhD, Darren Hayes, PhD, and Andreea Cotoranu. This project extends the CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service (SFS) program at Pace. This program prepares graduates to excel in cybersecurity tasks in specialty areas such as information assurance compliance and auditing, network security administration, and digital forensics.