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BY COLIN MIXSON
The federal government has certified Pace University as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education for a second time, and will continue offering scholarships to budding cyberwarriors through 2022 in exchange for a few years in service to their country.
The students who can expect to be awarded the federal scholarships are interested in more than just making a tidy profit off their cutting-edge skills, but also in waging cyberwar on behalf of their fellow Americans in the front line of the burgeoning digital battlescape, according to school’s primo code slinger.
“These kids are motivated not because it’s a lucrative career field, but because they want to give something back,” said Dr. Jonathan Hill, dean of the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems at Pace. “The government is also a great proving ground, and they’re very much on the front lines of this battle.”
Through the federally sponsored cyber security program, Pace will be accepting 12 to 15 students into its Seidenberg School, where they’ll not only receive a firm grounding in computer science, but will also get hands-on experience combating cyber threats, and work hand-in-hand with government agencies such as the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.
“We give them a really strong foundation, coupled with specialized training in the latest cyber security technology, encryption, cyber-forensic techniques, and so on, and they will do internships with government agencies to get experience,” said Hill.
The scholarship will pay for tuition, room, and board for between two and three years, and graduates will owe Uncle Sam an equal amount of time in service to the country, either on the city, state, or federal level.
“It’s not unlike service at the military academy,” said Hill. “The federal government pays for tuition, room, board, books, and they are then required to work for a government agency. It can be local like the NYPD, state like the State Attorney General, or a federal agency.”
After repaying the government, the cyber security experts will be well-placed to enter a private sector in constant need of innovative new digital security measures, in a world where any service provided online has become a target for hackers and cyber schemers looking to make an easy buck, Hill said.
“Anybody who does business on the internet needs this — the threat to industry and e-commerce in general by cyber criminals is overwhelming,” he said. “When these folks come out with this Pace education, and a number of years working for the government, they can write their own check.”