The University received a $4.7 million grant from the National Science Foundation that will go toward undergraduate and graduate students pursuing computer science, software, computing, wireless and electrical engineering degrees.
The grant comes as a part of NSF's CyberCorps Scholarship for Service program that provides students with scholarships and stipends to help address a shortage of public sector cybersecurity professionals.
The SFS program at Auburn is overseen by David Umphress, the COLSA corporation cyber security and information assurance professor and director of the Auburn Cyber Research Center, and Dean Hendrix, associate professor of computer science and software engineering.
“We try to give students real-world, hands-on experience so they are able to perform cybersecurity functions by the time they graduate,” Umphress said. “Every summer, they have to participate in an internship at some type of public employment, such as the Department of Homeland Security, NSA, CIA, FBI or places like that.”
Auburn, a longtime participant in this program, plans to use the grant to recruit students from underrepresented populations and raise cybersecurity awareness in Alabama.
“In recent years, there have been many high-profile cyberattacks on our nation’s institutions, underlining the importance of Auburn’s education and research initiatives in this area,” said Dean of the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering Christopher B. Roberts. “This funding from NSF will support our work in preparing the next generation of cybersecurity professionals so they are capable of addressing this ever-evolving threat.”
Students in the program will work together with the Alabama Power Academic Excellence Program, 100+ Women Strong within the College of Engineering, Auburn's Office of Accessibility and the Veterans Resource Center to ensure that at least half of those who receive the scholarship will come from under-represented populations.
Students will also be encouraged to pursue additional cybersecurity certifications outside of the classroom to better prepare them for their government agency jobs after graduation.