UMBC offers a national model for cyber workforce development, says new report

Cybersecurity is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States and a recent Business-Higher Education Forum report calls Maryland the “epicenter of national cybersecurity.” The report, Building a Diverse Cybersecurity Talent Ecosystem to Address National Security Needs, found that University System of Maryland (USM) efforts to increase the number of students who earn degrees in cyber-related fields has made progress in meeting the needs of the region. It also emphasized that more growth is needed, through programs like those UMBC offers, to meet increasing industry demand for cyber professionals.

In a USM press release, Chancellor Robert L. Caret says, “The University System of Maryland has been committed to growing cybersecurity programs at universities across the state to serve the needs of students and employers in this burgeoning field.” USM highlights programs across the five universities “leading the way” in cybersecurity, including UMBC’s Cyber Scholars program, launched with support from the Northrop Grumman Foundation, and a new cyber apprenticeship program, created through a partnership between UMBC Training Centers, the Maryland Department of Labor, and Gov. Larry Hogan.

In its coverage of the report, The Daily Record focuses on two core findings: the need for students to gain work experience and demand for a diverse cybersecurity workforce. It highlights the work of USM institutions to grow “undergraduate pathways into cybersecurity that attract students with diverse backgrounds and interests, engage them in meaningful learning experiences that reflect the cutting edge of the field and encourage them to stay in the region to build their careers.”

The highlights a UMBC program to explain this idea, noting, “UMBC’s Meyerhoff Scholars program is viewed as a national model for increasing diversity in STEM fields, and the university drew on lessons learned from that model when it launched the Cyber Scholars program in 2013.” As illustration, the report profiles Lauren Mazzoli ’15, computer science and mathematics, M.S. ’17, computer science, a systems engineer in the Future Technical Leaders Program at Northrop Grumman. It showcases her experience as one of UMBC’s first Cyber Scholars and the value she found in UMBC’s Center for Women in Technology and an internship at the Department of Defense.

Graduates from UMBC computing programs continue to have an impact through work with government agencies and top companies in cybersecurity fields. From the Class of 2018, Cyber Scholar Priyanka Ranade ‘18, information systems, is now a cyber software engineer at Northrop Grumman and T-SITE Scholar Bryan Vanek ‘18, computer science is participating in the Computer Network Operations Development Program at the Department of Defense.

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