MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - The University of South Alabama School of Computing has been awarded a $2.1 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to provide scholarship opportunities to highly qualified students taking information assurance education tracks.
The tracks are security-oriented courses, which cover subjects including cryptography, software vulnerabilities, virus and malware defense, forensics, and cyber warfare.
"An everyday person on the street would be fairly impacted if we couldn't do business over the internet, if financial systems went down, if our stop lights went down, have an accident," said USA Associate Professor Dr. Todd Andel.
The new Cyber Scholars: Scholarship for Service (SFS) program will provide full, two-year scholarships for up to 20 undergraduate and graduate students during the five-year period of the project. In return, scholarship students give service in federal, state, local, and tribal government agencies for a period equivalent to the length of their scholarship.
The scholarships provide academic year stipends of $20,000 per year for undergraduate students and $25,000 for master's degree students. In addition, SFS scholarships cover expenses normally incurred by full-time students at the institution, including tuition and education related fees; a health insurance reimbursement allowance up to $1,200 per year; a professional development allowance of $3,000 for the SFS Job Fair and other travel, professional certification, and a book allowance of $1,000 per academic year. Applications for fall of 2013 will be accepted until April 15, 2013.
Students like Brittany Thigpen, a USA Graduate Student are training now, so they can protect you later.
"People are relying on more technology now days more than ever. So we have to keep it secure," said Thigpen.
The SFS program, co-sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security, is designed to increase and strengthen the cadre of federal information assurance professionals that protect the government's critical information infrastructure.
It will mentor scholarship recipients in cyber security research and education, help in placement for summer internship opportunities, and ultimately help graduates find information assurance positions within the government workforce.
Students must also participate in other activities such as conferences, workshops and seminars. These activities are aimed at developing a community of practice that will enhance students' individual and collective skills in an area increasingly important to the security of the United States.
USA's School of Computing was recognized as a Center of Academic Excellence for Information Assurance Education (CAE-IAE) in 2011, a designation given by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security to programs with demonstrated commitment to academic excellence in Information Assurance education.
As a CAE-IAE, the School of Computing provides information assurance tracks for a bachelor's degree program in Information Technology and for master's degree programs in Information Systems and Computer Science.
Students interested in applying for the Cyber Scholars program at USA must be:
- enrolled in the final two years of a bachelor's, master's, or doctorate degree program at an NSF-selected CAE/IAE
- attending school on a full-time basis while receiving a scholarship under the SFS program
- a United States citizen
- eligible for federal employment
- able to obtain a security clearance
Dr. Todd McDonald was the Principle Investigator on the grant with Dr. Todd Andel, Angela Clark and Les Barnett acting as Co-Principle Investigators. Interested students can contact Dr. McDonald (email@example.com ), or the SFS Scholarship Coordinator, Ms. Clark (firstname.lastname@example.org ), in the School of Computing. Information about the program can also be found at http://www.usacfits.org/CyberScholars .
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