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UTSA receives $1.25M from National Science Foundation to support cyber security students

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(Jan. 10, 2011)--The University of Texas at San Antonio has been selected to receive a four-year, $1.25 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Federal Cyber Service: Scholarship for Service program to support UTSA undergraduate, master's and doctoral students committed to pursuing careers in computer and information security.

UTSA students selected for the program will receive up to $56,000 during their last two years of study to cover the cost of tuition and fees, room and board, books and additional expenses. In exchange, they must agree to work as employees in the federal security sector for two years following graduation.

Established in 2006, the Scholarship for Service program seeks to generate a pipeline of qualified professionals to meet the cyber-security needs of the federal government. UTSA is one of 34 institutions participating in the program.

"Ninety-nine percent of the students who go through this program find immediate placement in federal jobs following graduation," said Kleanthis Psarris, professor and chair of the UTSA Department of Computer Science, who will oversee the program and its graduates along with Greg White, associate professor of computer science and director of the UTSA Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security (CIAS). "We expect this program to have an extremely positive impact on the San Antonio security sector."

Because many UTSA students come from the surrounding region, Psarris and White realize students may not want to relocate to Washington, D.C., to secure federal employment following graduation. To support students who want to remain in San Antonio after graduation, the professors will work with local government agencies to identify qualifying federal jobs in the Alamo City.

"We will provide many opportunities for students in this program, so we expect it to be very competitive," said White. "Students will have access to job fairs, mentors and training, and research and federal internship opportunities. These are the students that could go on to work for the FBI, CIA or Department of Defense. We are looking for the very best students to fill these spots."

UTSA is recognized by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security as a Center for Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education (CAE). The CAE program reduces vulnerability in the U.S. information infrastructure by promoting higher education and research in information assurance and by supporting a growing number of professionals with information assurance expertise. UTSA also is one of the few schools to hold the prestigious CAE-R designation. The CAE-R program in information assurance aims to increase the understanding of robust technologies, policies and practices through research to enable the United States to effectively prevent or respond to a catastrophic cyber event.

Beginning with a fall 2011 cohort, UTSA will recruit seven computer science students to join the program each semester. Students will pursue a degree with a concentration in cyber or information security and must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA. Scholarships for Service applicants must be U.S. citizens who can pass a background check and are eligible for federal employment.

To learn more about the program or to apply, visit the NSF Scholarship for Service website or contact Greg White at 210-458-2166.



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