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Title: Educating the Next Generation of Cybersecurity Experts
The overall goal of the NSF Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE) S-STEM funded "Attracting and Cultivating Cybersecurity Experts and Scholars through Scholarships" (ACCESS) program is to increase Cybersecurity-related STEM degree completion of low-income, high-achieving undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need and to generate knowledge about academic success, retention, persistence, graduation, and career pathways of these students to improve the education of future STEM workers. Specifically, ACCESS aims to contribute towards addressing the tremendous governmental and industry need for highly skilled cybersecurity experts. Program objectives include: (1) increasing annual enrollment of students in the B.S. in Computer and Information Sciences programs with specialization in Cybersecurity; (2) enhancing curricular and extra-curricular student support services and activities for students; (3) strengthening the partnerships with computer and information technology employers; and (4) investigating the impact of the curricular and co-curricular activities on student success. While significant research has been done relative to student success, retention, and persistence to graduation in STEM fields, cybersecurity is a new field of study and factors affecting student recruitment, academic success, retention, persistence to graduation within this field are not known. In year 1, students were recruited, applications were evaluated, and scholarships were awarded to nine academically talented students, beginning fall 2020. Of these students, four are female (one is from an underrepresented minority population) and five are male (three are from underrepresented minority populations). The students engage in a set of co-curriculum activities, including participation in: outreach activities; technical and career development seminars; a cybersecurity-focused student organization; and potentially, cybersecurity undergraduate research and summer internship opportunities. The paper and poster describe the background of the ACCESS program, recruitment and selection of ACCESS scholarship recipients, project activities, and challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.  more » « less
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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference
Medium: X
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National Science Foundation
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