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Security Grant for Computer Science Dept

Posted On : December 8th, 2010

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The National Science Foundation has awarded Sacramento State’s Computer Science Department a $1.1 million grant that will enable 15 students to become information security specialists during the next four years.
Co-sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security, the Scholarship for Service (SFS) Program provides financial assistance to students in return for their commitment to serve a federal agency in a cyber security position for the length of the scholarship, or one year, whichever is longer.

This award places Sacramento State in select company among the 60 institutions of higher learning nationwide that participate in this very competitive program.

Scholarships generally cover tuition, room, board and books up to two years for undergraduate or graduate study. In addition, undergrads receive an annual stipend of $8,000 and graduates receive $12,000.

Recipients will be selected on a merit-based system set by the Computer Science Department. Each candidate must be a full-time student in the final two years of their academic program, a U.S. citizen, eligible for federal employment and able to obtain a security clearance, if required.

Behnam Arad, professor of Computer Science, is the principal investigator for this project. The two co-principle investigators helping Arad on this project are professors Isaac Ghansah and Ted Krovetz. The team plans to conduct the selection process this spring for the fall semester when the first set of scholarship recipients join the program and begin their security course work.

Arad says that securing the grant was primarily due to the solid program and infrastructure that the Computer Science Department offers. “This will enable us to recruit, support, and retain the scholarship recipients to complete their degrees in the information assurance and computer security fields,” he notes.

No less important are the department’s addition of a strong information assurance component and the establishment of a Center for Information Assurance and Security (CIAS). Sacramento State’s CIAS was designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education (CAE-IAE) for academic years 2007 to 2012 by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.

“The SFS project will also enhance faculty currency through faculty development activities and research,” Arad says. The grant includes funds for Computer Science faculty to attend technical workshops and conferences in the information assurance and computer security fields, which will enable them to keep abreast of the latest advances in these rapidly changing fields.

Students who receive scholarship funds for more than one academic year are required to serve an internship in information assurance area.

The federal program, which began in 2002, is designed to deal with the threat to the nation’s information technology infrastructure by developing a cadre of security specialists. These individuals will be trained to combat cyber threats that have increased exponentially the last several years.

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