Louisiana Tech students participate in Cyber Storm, an annual day-long cyber security competition held on campus. Last year, the University awarded diplomas to the first five cyber engineering college graduates ever in the world. (photo by Donny J Crowe)

Louisiana Tech University, one of the nation’s leaders in training the next generation of professionals who will protect the country’s cybersecurity threats, has received a grant that is expected to total $3,531,750 over five years to enhance its cybersecurity programs.

The grant was awarded by the National Science Foundation and will be used to support Tech’s proposed CyberCorps Scholarship for Service (SFS) program to prepare highly qualified cybersecurity professionals for entry into the government workforce. The initial grant is $1,312,488; this is a continuing grant which has been approved on scientific/technical merit.

The program proposes to support 36 SFS@LaTech Scholars to complete a bachelor’s degree in either cyber engineering or computer science with a cybersecurity concentration.

“The need for qualified cybersecurity professionals is great in our country, and Louisiana Tech University is committed to helping meet that need,” Tech president Les Guice said. “Our students will be ready to enter the workforce and make an immediate positive impact through the CyberCorps Scholarship for Service program. In addition, we hope to diversify this segment of the workforce through our plans to target 40 percent of the scholarships for women and underrepresented groups.”

Hisham Hegab, a lead investigator for the grant and the dean of Tech’s College of Engineering and Science, said, “In the first year of this grant, we anticipate funding study for seven undergraduate students who will prepare for careers in the growing field of cyber security. These students will have the opportunity to participate in internships and research that will help them fill the need for professionals who are committed to becoming exceptional government servants in this field.”

“This grant will provide unique opportunities for our students to effectively prepare them to address the cyber challenges of tomorrow,” Louisiana Tech’s Sumeet Dua, associate vice president for research and partnerships, said. “Selected student participation in the SFS@LaTech program, coupled with the opportunities offered by our industry partners, will continue to create an unparalleled learning experience for our students in the domain of cyber.”