Funding, Grants & Awards

U Maryland Wins $2.76 Million for Data Security Training

The University of Maryland has received a new vote of confidence for its approach to data security training from the company that helped the institution begin the program in the first place. The Northrop Grumman Foundation is renewing its commitment to U Maryland's Advanced Cybersecurity Experience for Students (ACES) program with a $2.76 million donation. The funding will be applied to three primary areas: student recruitment, scholarships and creation of a new lab.

ACES began in fall 2013 as the country's first "honors" data security degree program. Northrop Grumman provided the bulk of support for that launch. The program includes the ACES "Living-Learning Program" for freshmen and sophomores and the more advanced ACES minor for juniors and seniors. In the first students live together in the same residence hall and takes classes together and participate in extracurricular events. Those who complete the program earn an Honors College citation in data security. The ACES Minor is a 16-credit upper-level multidisciplinary program in data security that's housed in the Honors College as well and open to students of all majors. Participants get practical instruction through coursework, attending seminars, doing group projects, serving internships and performing research on campus and off.

The new funding will enable the program to expand recruitment to ROTC programs and campus veterans, reach out to Maryland community colleges and introduce K-12 data security-related programs. A larger scholarship program will be targeted at those groups as well as first-generation college students and others with financial need. The funding will also support study-abroad opportunities and travel to national conferences and data security competitions.

The lab, which the university called a "research-grade facility," will give upper-level students isolated access to state-of-the-art technology and software to model security challenges.

"The ACES curriculum delivers a unique, interdisciplinary perspective of cybersecurity across many sectors with an emphasis on experiential learning. This breadth of expertise is a crucial foundation for the program's success in forming future cybersecurity leaders," said ACES Director Michel Cukier in a press release. "The support from Northrop Grumman will allow us to expand our current breadth by hiring full-time instructors and engaging experts from industry and government, developing a larger infrastructure for experiential learning and in turn, giving us the ability to adapt to cybersecurity's changing demands."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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