Get the latest updates on the Coronavirus impact on engineers.Click Here
Cybersecurity

University receives cybersecurity training grant

LSU Engineering received a $3.4 million National Science Foundation Scholarships for Service (SFS) grant, which will fund 21 scholarships in cybersecurity training over a five-year period.
By Louisiana State University January 15, 2020
Golden Richard III, LSU computer science professor, associate director for cybersecurity at the LSU Center for Computation & Technology (CCT). Courtesy: Louisiana State University

Hiring for cybersecurity positions in the United States has become a dire situation. Companies need more workers with an ever-increasing level of skill and there are not enough qualified applicants for most positions. The situation is particularly challenging in the federal sector, where salaries tend to be lower.

It is this dilemma that led a group of Louisiana State University (LSU) Engineering faculty to apply for and receive a $3.4 million National Science Foundation Scholarships for Service (SFS) grant, which will fund 21 scholarships in cybersecurity training over a five-year period. The first round of scholarships will be rewarded this fall.

“When I was first recruited by LSU, my intention was to build a world-class applied cybersecurity program to try to help address this need,” said Golden Richard III, LSU computer science professor, associate director for cybersecurity at the LSU Center for Computation & Technology (CCT), and principal investigator on the project. “From an individual student’s perspective, the SFS program provides scholarships that have virtually no equal — a very substantial stipend, funds for travel and securing a professional certification, and a guaranteed federal job on graduation.”

Scholarship recipients will participate in an intensive academic program in cybersecurity that includes both coursework and research in cutting-edge areas, such as memory forensics, reverse engineering, malware analysis, blockchains, machine learning, and network security. They will also participate in a federal internship program and obtain at least one cybersecurity certification.

“People simply don’t realize how amazing federal jobs in cybersecurity can be because they are somewhat necessarily cloaked in secrecy,” Richard said. “That’s because a lot of the jobs require a security clearance and the specific details of the kind of work a person might do are not obvious. The fact that students in the SFS program do an internship at a federal agency—and likely obtain a security clearance in the process, which allows them to see things from a different perspective—opens their eyes to the very exciting and challenging work that’s available in the federal sector.”

Richard is hopeful the SFS grant will open more eyes to its cybersecurity program.

“Most of the very best cybersecurity programs in the U.S. target a few federal few initiatives, with one of these being the SFS program and the other being the National Security Agency’s Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations (CAE-CO) designation,” Richard said. “These are important because they significantly raise the profile of the university, make recruiting easier and offer very serious benefits for students.”

– Edited from an LSU press release by CFE Media. See more Control Engineering cybersecurity stories.


Louisiana State University