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Educating the Next Generation of Cybersecurity Experts

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

8

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/37000

Download Count

15

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Paper Authors

biography

Katerina Goseva-Popstojanova West Virginia University

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Dr. Katerina Goseva-Popstojanova is a Professor at the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV. Her research interests are in software engineering, cybersecurity, and data analytics, as well as in higher education focused on these areas. She has served as a Principal Investigator on various NSF, NASA, and industry funded projects. She leads the B.S. in Cybersecurity program and serves as Academic Coordinator of the M.S. in Software Engineering Program at West Virginia University. She has served on program and organizing committees of many international conferences and workshops.

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biography

Robin A.M. Hensel West Virginia University

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Robin A. M. Hensel, Ed.D., is the Assistant Dean for Freshman Experience in the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources at West Virginia University. While her doctorate is in Curriculum and Instruction, focusing on higher education teaching of STEM fields, she also holds B.S. and M.A. degrees in Mathematics. Dr. Hensel has over seven years of experience working in engineering teams and in project management and administration as a Mathematician and Computer Systems Analyst for the U. S. Department of Energy as well as more than 25 years of experience teaching mathematics, statistics, computer science, and first-year engineering courses in higher education institutions. Currently, she leads a team of faculty who are dedicated to providing first-year engineering students with a high-quality, challenging, and engaging educational experience with the necessary advising, mentoring, and academic support to facilitate their transition to university life and to prepare them for success in their engineering majors and future careers.

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Abstract

The overall goal of the NSF Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE) S-STEM funded "Attracting and Cultivating Cybersecurity Experts and Scholars through Scholarships" (ACCESS) program is to increase Cybersecurity-related STEM degree completion of low-income, high-achieving undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need and to generate knowledge about academic success, retention, persistence, graduation, and career pathways of these students to improve the education of future STEM workers. Specifically, ACCESS aims to contribute towards addressing the tremendous governmental and industry need for highly skilled cybersecurity experts. Program objectives include: (1) increasing annual enrollment of students in the B.S. in Computer and Information Sciences programs with specialization in Cybersecurity; (2) enhancing curricular and extra-curricular student support services and activities for students; (3) strengthening the partnerships with computer and information technology employers; and (4) investigating the impact of the curricular and co-curricular activities on student success. While significant research has been done relative to student success, retention, and persistence to graduation in STEM fields, cybersecurity is a new field of study and factors affecting student recruitment, academic success, retention, persistence to graduation within this field are not known.

In year 1, students were recruited, applications were evaluated, and scholarships were awarded to nine academically talented students, beginning fall 2020. Of these students, four are female (one is from an underrepresented minority population) and five are male (three are from underrepresented minority populations). The students engage in a set of co-curriculum activities, including participation in: outreach activities; technical and career development seminars; a cybersecurity-focused student organization; and potentially, cybersecurity undergraduate research and summer internship opportunities.

The paper and poster describe the background of the ACCESS program, recruitment and selection of ACCESS scholarship recipients, project activities, and challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Goseva-Popstojanova, K., & Hensel, R. A. (2021, July), Educating the Next Generation of Cybersecurity Experts Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37000

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