The Univ. of Maryland and the Northrop Grumman Corporation will launch a landmark program in UMD's Honors College designed to educate a new generation of advanced cybersecurity professionals. The unique program, Advanced Cybersecurity Experience for Students (ACES), will immerse undergraduate students in all aspects of the field to meet growing manpower needs in the nation and the State of Maryland.
ACES will engage a highly talented, diverse group of students — majors in computer science, engineering, business, public policy and the social sciences — in an intensive living-learning environment that focuses on the multifaceted aspects of cybersecurity and develops team-building skills. Students will take on an advanced, cross-disciplinary curriculum developed through industry consultation, and will interact directly with industry and government cybersecurity mentors. Student enrolled in the program will have the option of interning with Northrop Grumman and preparing for security clearance. ACES will produce skilled, experienced cybersecurity leaders highly sought by corporate and government organizations.
The Northrop Grumman Corporation will provide a grant of $1.1 million to launch the program, which will begin in the fall of 2013, and support it for an additional two years. The Univ. of Maryland will match that amount.
The ACES Program will serve as an inaugural Regional Workforce Project of The Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF), of which University System of Maryland Chancellor William Kirwan is Chair, and Wes Bush, Chairman and CEO of Northrop Grumman is Vice Chair.
Stated Patrick O'Shea, Univ. of Maryland Vice President for Research, "Together with industry leader Northrop Grumman, we have developed the ACES Honors Program to produce a new generation of experts prepared to take on real-world cybersecurity challenges. We expect that ACES, like our other honors programs, will become a national model for preparing young people to excel in emerging, multi-disciplinary fields."
Finding employees fully prepared to take on complex cybersecurity issues is a major challenge for corporations and government agencies. Bush said, "We are fully committed to developing solutions to help eliminate the nation's shortage of critical STEM-educated talent and by partnering with the Univ. of Maryland, we will address workforce challenges in the increasingly important field of cybersecurity. The university has an outstanding track record for developing innovative educational programs to answer real-world needs, excellent research capabilities through its Maryland Cybersecurity Center, and close relationships with the many federal agencies and corporations in the Washington, D.C., area likewise concerned about cybersecurity."
ACES will consist of an intensive curriculum, which will include general cybersecurity offerings, as well as a variety of other topics, including cybersecurity forensics, reverse engineering, secure coding, criminology, and law and public policy. In year-long capstone courses, teams of seniors will apply their knowledge and skills in solving complex cybersecurity problems. Summer internships will augment coursework with real-world projects and develop a pipeline of talented students. Throughout, Northrop Grumman will provide guest lecturers, participate in an industry advisory board, pose real-world problems for students to solve, and provide advisors and mentors for capstone projects.
The ACES program is slated to accept its first students at the College Park campus in fall 2013. Over time, through distance education programs, online course offerings, transfer of students, and competitions, universities across the Univ. System of Maryland will participate in the program.
Source: Univ. of Maryland