By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– The National Science Foundation has awarded $749,869 to Cal State San Bernardino as part of a $4.3 million grant to recruit and mentor 30 students from five community colleges to ultimately work in cybersecurity in federal agencies and departments.
As part of the three-year grant for the Community College Cyber Pilot Program, the CSUSB Cybersecurity Center will partner with Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Wash., said Tony Coulson, a CSUSB professor of information and decision sciences and director of the university’s Cybersecurity Center.
The program was designed to increase the level of diversity among students enrolled in cybersecurity programs and allow members of underrepresented communities to engage in the field. The CSUSB center will be mentoring students, specifically with veterans and adults who need “retooling” to meet the needs of cybersecurity and government service, Coulson said.
“Cybersecurity is an important national concern in this region. This program will help improve the pipeline of critically needed cyber skills,” Coulson said. “CSUSB is helping provide national leadership in these initiatives.”
U.S. Rep. Pete Aguilar, whose 31st Congressional District includes CSUSB, praised the grant, saying it was vital to the nation’s interest to increase those trained in cybersecurity.
“Cybersecurity is an increasingly important part of our overall national security strategy,” said Aguilar. “I’m proud to announce this funding which will allow Cal State San Bernardino to grow their reputation as a leader in the cybersecurity field while growing our nation’s pool of cyber talent.”
As part of the grant, the center will also work on faculty development and help to build the institutional capacity required for community colleges to run cybersecurity programs on their campuses, and to increase the diversity of students enrolling in the cyber programs, ultimately increasing the number of cybersecurity professionals in federal employment, Coulson said.
Under the grant, Whatcom will administer the scholarships and manage the scholarship awards to community colleges, which will be selected from around the country.
Each pilot college, including Whatcom, will serve a cohort of five students. Over a two-year period, the project will award a total of $2,490,000 in student scholarships and a total of $498,000 in stipends to the pilot colleges, for a grand total of $2,988,000 in funding to the six pilot colleges.