University of Hawaiʻi–West Oʻahu’s Dr. J. Burrell received a $183,000 cybersecurity grant award that will fund student internships and the purchase of equipment to establish the UH West Oʻahu Cyber Security Research Laboratory.
The grant award is from the Department of Defense (DoD) / National Security Agency (NSA) Cyber Scholarship Program (CySP), which is designed to recruit and retain a highly-trained cybersecurity workforce to help secure our nation against cyber threats to our critical infrastructure and information systems. Its mission is to promote higher education in cybersecurity and increase the number of military and civilian personnel with cyber and information technology expertise.
The DoD/NSA CySP grant selection involved a highly competitive process that included 92 National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity.
“The extensive experience of the UH West Oʻahu Cybersecurity and Information Security and Assurance program faculty was a critical factor in the evaluation and selection as a grant award recipient,” said Burrell, Principal Investigator and Director of the Cyber Security Research Laboratory at UH West Oʻahu.
The CySP grant award has two major components that include funding student scholarships and institutional capacity building:
- CySP student scholarship awards include a full-time cybersecurity position with a DoD component or agency upon graduation, with the additional benefits of tuition reimbursement, laptop computer purchase, and an annual stipend while completing cybersecurity degree requirements.
- CySP capacity building awards include funding for the establishment or enhancement of institutional capabilities that provide research and education opportunities for students enrolled in information assurance and technology programs.
The capacity building grant award that Burrell received will fund 15 paid student internships and the purchase of specialized technical equipment to establish a UH West Oʻahu Cyber Security Research Laboratory during the 2020-2021 academic year.
“The internships will provide applied learning experiences for students with faculty directed research in advanced studies,” Burrell said.
Student internships will offer unique opportunities that combine cybersecurity education and applied research to advance knowledge and promote security and resilience for critical information infrastructures and systems at the local, regional, and national level.
Additional student opportunities include coordination with the UH West Oʻahu Cyber Security Coordination Center, outreach initiatives involving other UH campuses, and professional cybersecurity certification vouchers, Burrell said.
Instructional enhancements that include an applied research internship and technical certifications will improve student preparation for a professional career that contributes to local, regional, and national workforce requirements for highly trained cybersecurity professionals.
Sustainment of the student internship opportunities and the Cyber Security Research Laboratory will be reliant on funding from other grant opportunities and UH West Oʻahu.
Burrell noted that the effort and support of faculty members Dr. Matthew Chapman and Michael Miranda have been instrumental for the development of cybersecurity degree programs and providing unique learning opportunities for UH West Oʻahu students.
“The combination of the academic programs in cybersecurity and information security and assurance at UH West Oʻahu and the UH community college system, applied research internship experience, and professional cybersecurity certifications will provide students with enhanced employment opportunities and contribute to the civilian and military workforce requirements in the State of Hawaiʻi,” Burrell said.