Scholarships and Jobs for Students Who Choose Cybersecurity

Goal is to educate professionals to fight cyberterrorism, strengthen Internet security

Release Date: November 24, 2008 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- In tough economic times, the promise of healthy scholarships plus guaranteed employment upon graduation may sound too good to be true, but that's just what the University at Buffalo is offering to a few lucky students, starting in fall 2009.

The new scholarship program is made possible by an $868,000 Federal CyberService Award from the National Science Foundation to the UB Center of Excellence in Information Systems Assurance Research and Education (CEISARE). It is one of just 11 such awards that the NSF will grant this year.

UB's CEISARE was designated by the U.S. National Security Agency in 2002 to develop programs in cybersecurity and information assurance, conducting research and training students to protect the nation's information technology systems from cyberterrorism and security breaches on the Internet.

The goal of the new scholarship program is to boost the number of skilled personnel working in cybersecurity.

"For several years, all of the federal agencies, the FBI, CIA, NSA and others, have been experiencing a shortage of professionals in the area of information assurance," said Shambhu Upadhyaya, Ph.D., director of CEISARE and professor of computer science and engineering in the UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

"With these scholarships, UB students will help meet the critical national need for these professionals," he said. "We will pay students to develop these skills."

Over the next four years, the NSF award will provide full, two-year scholarships to a total of 10 undergraduate and graduate students in various disciplines who agree to study information assurance at UB for two years. The program's first enrollee is a student in the Department of Management Science and Systems in the UB School of Management.

Full undergraduate scholarships will total approximately $26,000 per year while graduate scholarships will run about $32,000 and cover tuition, fees, books, room and board, stipend and funds for travel to a conference.

Applications from undergraduate and graduate students at UB and other universities will be reviewed through a nationwide competitive process. The scholarships will be available to students in the following disciplines: engineering, computer science, management, mathematics and law. Students who receive the scholarships are required upon graduation to work for two years in civilian positions in the federal government.

To apply for the NSF-funded scholarship, undergraduate students must be juniors and graduate students must be entering their first year of study in the fall of 2009; all applicants must be U.S. citizens.

The program is being run by Upadhyaya, in addition to H.R. Rao, Ph.D., professor in the UB School of Management, Thomas Cusick, Ph.D., UB professor of mathematics, and Mark Bartholomew, professor of law.

For more information on the NSF funded scholarships, please go to

UB's CEISARE has been participating in a smaller, similar program funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, which has graduated five information assurance scholars. The UB graduates now are working in agencies such as the Defense Information Systems Agency, the NSA and Naval Air Systems Command.

The goals of CEISARE are to contribute to the SUNY Homeland Defense initiative at UB by collaborating with state and federal agencies, including the New York State Foundation of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR), to implement educational programs in information assurance at the graduate and undergraduate levels and to collaborate with and help train employees of local companies involved in computer security research.

The center brings together individual UB researchers in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Law School and the School of Management who are working on various aspects of information-technology assurance. It also sponsors national and regional workshops on information assurance topics including wireless security, e-commerce security, computer forensics and security education. CEISARE helps to bring computer security awareness to the region by collaborating with local institutions, such as Erie Community College, Genesee Community College and Hilbert College.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

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