Expanding cyber diversity

Missouri S&T is working with the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) to develop a new program for undergraduate students in an effort to get more women and minorities interested in the field of cyber-security — specifically, information assurance education.

Information assurance education brings together computer science, engineering and information technology to find ways to improve the security of computer and electronic networks. Minorities and women make up only 3 to 5 percent of the workforce in this specialized field.
The three-semester program gives interested UAPB undergraduates who complete the coursework a chance to obtain a minor in information assurance. Those students may then apply to pursue master’s or Ph.D. degrees with an emphasis in information assurance at S&T.
Missouri S&T is already a leader in information assurance education, says Bruce McMillin, professor of computer science, and this partnership builds on that role. In 2007, the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security designated Missouri S&T as Missouri’s first National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education. McMillin is the center’s director.
“Nationally, the NSA and intelligence community is looking to hire 1,000 Ph.D.s the next few years due to the increasing demand,” McMillin says. “If you want to do research in security, the NSA is the place to be, because you have security clearance all the way to the top. You’ll know what the leading edge is.”

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