CSM earns its place in Cybercom’s first US college engagement network
College of Southern Maryland (CSM) students studying cybersecurity will receive groundbreaking instruction and opportunity through the college’s acceptance into the first cohort of the Cyber Command’s new Academic Engagement Network (AEN). U.S. Army (CYBERCOM). Through the network, CYBERCOM will work directly with CSM to prepare students for the job market, increase cyber-applied research and innovation, and expand cyber-focused analytical partnerships to enrich the nation’s strategic cyber dialogue.
“We are building a direct pipeline from the education sector to the workforce,” said CSM’s president of technology, Lakisha Ferebee. “Working directly with employers helps us ensure that we are teaching the content we need to teach so our graduates can jump straight into the job market.”
CSM is one of 14 community colleges selected to participate in this national network. In total, the partners include 70 universities, 14 community colleges, nine minority-serving institutions, four military service academies, and four military war and staff colleges.
Being actively engaged with the NEA allows CSM to receive real-time information about changes in the cyberspace field that may impact students, programs, research, and partnerships. CSM students will now also receive invitations to exclusive webinars on CYBERCOM’s most pressing issues, as well as how to benefit from key Department of Defense programs that impact cyberspace; and access guest speakers from CYBERCOM on cyberspace strategy, policy, law, innovation and workforce issues.
“We are in a prime location to take advantage of job growth in cybersecurity, which is a national security priority,” Ferebee said. “We are ready to form a strong partnership with this program. The opportunities here are huge.
“Cyber Command’s goal for the NEA is to strengthen our relationships and communications with these participating institutions,” said CYBERCOM Executive Director David Frederick. “This will enhance and support our efforts to meet cyberspace’s educational demands and workforce needs.”
Last month, U.S. Army General Paul M. Nakasone, Commander of U.S. Cyber Command, Director of the National Security Agency, and Chief of the Central Security Service hosted a virtual welcome session for students, faculty, and staff partners selected to participate in the inaugural event of the CYBERCOM Academic Engagement Network.
“I hope you all see this initiative as a common ground for shared dialogue, not just the arena for CYBERCOM,” Nakasone said. “Ideally, it would be great if we could mature this network to the point where we go beyond just dialogue and develop real solutions, real impacts on our common challenges.”
CSM has a strong track record of preparing students for the cybersecurity workforce, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts will grow 33% from 2020 to 2030, far faster than the average for all occupations .
Last year, the faculty of cybersecurity gained national recognition from the National Cyber Intelligence Center Innovations in Cybersecurity Education Curriculum. CSM faculty won second place for best submission for adapting their “Cybersecurity Workforce: Bridging the Gap” courses during the pandemic to keep students engaged in cybersecurity supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). He also highlighted the ways in which CSM measures success in building a social and learning community through this grant project.
“We’re constantly trying to innovate and try new things while providing students with an education that makes them competitive in the job market,” CSM professor and business coordinator Dr. Mary Beth Klinger said about price. “Ultimately, our end goal is to provide students with the joy of an cyber career.”
CSM’s cybersecurity program is designated CAE-CDE 2Y – National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense 2-Year Education by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Students in the program develop a foundation in computer theory, explore cybersecurity concepts, and select a specialized track to pursue in digital forensics, network security, or information assurance. For more information on cybersecurity programs, visit CSM Cyber Center.