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Citadel to create a South Carolina CyberCorps with $2.8 million grant

The Citadel, dedicated to training America’s cyber warriors, will harness a new $2.8 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to create the state’s first CyberCorps Scholarship for Service (SFS) program. It is the largest grant The Citadel has earned to date.

The CyberCorps SFS program at The Citadel is linked with the national CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service program offered by the NSF and co-sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies. The program will help The Citadel continue to recruit and train the next generation of cybersecurity professionals to meet the needs of federal, state, local and tribal government organizations.

“This grant recognizes the value of The Citadel’s singularity − a 24/7 Senior Military College where the mission of developing principled leaders is blended with a multi-disciplinary cybersecurity education,” said Darin Zimmerman, Ph.D., dean of the Swain School of Science and Mathematics at The Citadel.

Specifically, CyberCorps SFS at The Citadel will provide scholarships supporting undergraduate students pursuing a major in Computer Science, Cyber Operations, Intelligence and Security Studies, or Criminal Justice with a minor in Cybersecurity at the military college. The recipients will then pursue employment with a government entity in a cybersecurity-related position.

“CyberCorps SFS at The Citadel will provide a steady supply of highly trained cybersecurity graduates for government positions over the next several years”, said Shankar Banik, Ph.D., professor and head of Department of Cyber and Computer Sciences at The Citadel. Banik is also the principal investigator for The Citadel’s CyberCorps SFS Project.

CyberCorps SFS cadets and students at The Citadel will participate in research, outreach and cyber defense competitions, in addition to their academic courses, leadership learning and military requirements.

“The outcome of the project will be a pool of principled leaders with cybersecurity skills in multiple domains who can serve in the Charleston area where there numerous cybersecurity enterprises such as the Naval Information Warfare Center (Atlantic), or wherever they are most needed,” said Banik.

Banik noted that CyberCorps SFS cadets and students at The Citadel will also benefit from the long-established relationships between the college and federal and state entities such as the Naval Information Warfare Center (Atlantic), Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Defense, Federal Bureau of Investigation and National Security Agency.

Banik will be assisted by a group of co-principal investigators from The Citadel faculty including:

  • Jennifer Albert, Ph.D., director of The Citadel STEM Center of Excellence
  • Carl Jensen, Ph.D., head of the Department of Intelligence and Security Studies,
  • Michael Verdicchio, Ph.D., professor of Cyber and Computer Sciences
  • Jordana Navarro, Ph.D., professor of Criminal Justice

The program represents a college-wide effort utilizing resources and expertise from the newly created Department of Cyber and Computer Sciences, the Departments of Criminal Justice and Intelligence and Security Studies, the college’s Center for Cyber, Intelligence and Security Studies, The Citadel STEM Center of Excellence and the college’s Student Success Center, Office of Admissions, and Career Center.

The Citadel is one of only six federally appointed Senior Military Colleges, and one of only two that continue to have a 24/7 military structure for their undergraduate population. The Citadel has the highest 4-year graduation rate in South Carolina and is U.S. News & World Report’s #1 Top Public College in the South for the ninth consecutive year.