Tennessee Tech CEROC hosts Virtual 2020 CyberCorps Scholarship for Service Bootcamp

(contact Eric Brown, elbrown@tntech.edu, (931) 372-3519 for more information)
August 21, 2020

COOKEVILLE, TN – The Cybersecurity Education, Research and Outreach Center (CEROC) conducted its 5th annual CyberCorps SFS New Scholars Bootcamp.  The 2020 CyberCorps Scholarship for Service Bootcamp at Tennessee Tech University was held August 20-21, 2020. Like so many events, the bootcamp was conducted virtually due to COVID-19 precautions.  As a result of this change, more students were able to participate in this year’s event than ever before. Approximately 275 students from across the nation attended this two-day workshop to prepare themselves for their new roles as CyberCorps SFS scholars.

Participants were from across the nation.

The CyberCorps Scholarship for Service program has been in existence since 2000, the result of Presidential Directive 63 / National Plan for Information Systems Protection in 1998.  The program/grant is jointly managed by the National Science Foundation and the Office for Personnel Management.  Through this program, grants are offered to qualifying four-year institutions to provide scholarships for rising college juniors.  The scholarships provide full tuition, books, professional development funds, and health insurance stipend.

Participants engaged in a number of activities and discussions with federal agency representatives.

Under the leadership of Dr. Ambareen Siraj, CEROC’s director, the bootcamp provides essential training for rising CyberCorps scholars in variety of research and related soft skills to help them be successful in their cybersecurity education journey.  Skills training will include communication and technical writing skills, ethics, time management, personal finance, service learning, and federal resume writing.  Participants will be introduced to the expectations and norms of academic research allowing them to contribute to cybersecurity research as they prepare for their future cybersecurity careers.  Participants will also have the opportunity to hear and interact with speakers from a variety of local and federal agencies, including the Office of Personnel Management, gaining insight into the cybersecurity needs at the federal level and better understanding of the roles and responsibilities of an SFS scholar.

“The bootcamp provides these students an important starting point for their CyberCorps SFS career.  We receive numerous ‘thank you’s’ from our attendees when we meet at the SFS Job Fair in January.  They tell us that the camp is part of their success story.” stated Eric Brown, CEROC’s assistant director.  “Watching these future cyber professionals light up when they begin to understand what career paths are available and how important their role will be in the future defense of their country’s critical infrastructure makes all of our efforts worthwhile.”, commented Dr. Ambareen Siraj, CEROC Director.

CEROC is no stranger to these types of events.  Throughout the year, the center engages over 2,000 students and external researchers / program managers during programs such as the GenCyber Summer Camp, GenCyber on Wheels, on-site presentations, career fairs, and visiting focus groups.  The collaborative work in these areas is crucial to addressing future cybersecurity issues both in application and workforce pipeline development. 

CEROC: Cybersecurity Education, Research and Outreach Center at Tennessee Tech University, under the direction of Dr. Ambareen Siraj, is a center of excellence in the College of Engineering focused on informal education programs; research in emerging cybersecurity topics; and outreach programs to stakeholders in academia, government and industry. CEROC is an NSA-designated Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE), host of the first and largest CyberCorps SFS program in the State of Tennessee, and host of the only DoD Cyber Scholarship program site in the state placing the center among the top tier of such centers in the nation. CEROC, via Dr. Siraj’s work, is also the founding group for the Women in Cybersecurity initiative, the largest of its type focusing on enhancing diversity within the cybersecurity workforce. More information about CEROC and its programs can be found at https://www.tntech.edu/ceroc or by sending an email to ceroc@tntech.edu. CEROC can also be found on social media at Facebook / Twitter / Instagram: TNTechCEROC and LinkedIn at https://linkedin.com/company/TNTechCEROC.