PSU Awarded $4.4M to Educate Cybersecurity Leaders

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology has been awarded a $4.4 million grant to expand the CyberCorps Scholarship for Service program, an initiative undertaken by the federal government and the National Science Foundation to recruit and train the next generation of cybersecurity professionals.

The team overseeing the program includes Dongwon Lee, the principal investigator and associate professor of information science technology, Anna Squicciarini, associate professor, Pete Forster, associate dean and faculty member, Nick Giacobe, assistant teaching professor, and John Hodgson, applied research laboratory. Over the next five years, the Penn State team plans to recruit and train up to 30 of the most capable undergraduate and graduate students from diverse programs across Penn State.

“There is a big shortage of graduates with the right background that the government needs for cyber and information security,” Squicciarini said. “So the government is fulfilling this need by providing fast track opportunities for qualified students.”

This program provides a full scholarship for up to two years for undergraduates and up to three years for graduate students. It also supports student placements into paid summer internships, a stipend, and allowance for travel to relevant cybersecurity conferences and competitions.

Students in the program gain exposure to the field, emphasizing the technical and non-technical skills needed to succeed in cybersecurity.

Upon graduation, graduates are required to serve in a government role, in any level or branch, for the length of time equal to the time of their scholarship. Job placements range across the federal government including the Intelligence Community and Federally Funded Research and Development Centers.

“The federal government hopes this will become a strong pipeline for jobs within the government,” Lee said.

After fulfilling their initial obligation, Lee estimated that 75% of graduates remain in the government sector.

Penn State is joined by a select number of institutions across the country in this program, which has been in existence for almost 20 years.

With the broadening of the SFS program and the introduction of a new major in cybersecurity analytics and operations, Penn State is at the forefront of the cybersecurity field.

Students are eligible after the second year of undergraduate studies from any major at the university. The next application window opens in March when students should submit their application online to join the 2019 cohort.

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