Press Release

Pace University Awarded $3.8M Cybersecurity Grant from the National Science Foundation

Posted
September 8, 2021

Pace University’s Seidenberg School of CSIS has been awarded a $3.8 million grant from the National Science Foundation to recruit and train cybersecurity professionals, the University today announced.

In earning the competitive grant from the federal government – to be allocated over 5 years – Pace University will expand its existing CyberCorps® Scholarship for Service (SFS) program that trains scholars at all levels for careers in government focusing on cybersecurity, cyber defense, and related operations that are currently in great demand.

The award is also aimed at increasing diversity and historically underrepresented communities including women and minorities and preparing them for careers in cybersecurity working for the federal government.

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Group of Seidenberg students smiling at the camera.

“There is an immense need and demand for cybersecurity experts in our country,” said Professor Li-Chiou Chen, who manages the CyberCorps® Scholarship for Service and CySP programs at Pace. “Because of our expertise, location, and track record, Pace University is uniquely positioned and equipped to deliver on this need – now and for years to come. We are grateful to the National Science Foundation for its continued partnership and support.”

The announcement comes at a time when governments are grappling with a growing number of attacks on its systems by hackers around the globe. In recent years, for example, foreign hackers were involved in a massive computer breach within U.S. government networks and private computer systems as well as other ransomware attacks on critical infrastructure such as the Colonial Pipeline.

Such attacks are happening all the time, security experts say. In fact, a 2020 FBI report shows a spike in cybercrimes in recent years, and estimates that in 2020 such crimes cost businesses an estimated $4.2 billion in losses, though that figure could be higher, according to many experts.

As a result, the U.S. government and some of America’s largest tech firms are investing hundreds of billions of dollars to boost their own cybersecurity capabilities, a trend that is only expected to grow in the future.

In particular, this grant will help pay for scholarships, workshops, competitions, conferences, and related activities as well as to foster engagement in research and training that will help students acquire the necessary technical training and analytical skills needed to succeed in a rapidly changing and high pressure environment.

Along with her management team on the grant -- Professor Andreea Cotoranu, Professor Paul Benjamin, Professor Darren Hayes, Professor Joseph Ryan, and Professor John Watkins – Professor Chen expects the cybersecurity scholars supported by the grant will work with professors in research projects contributing to research innovation in the areas of open-source intelligence, data analytics, machine learning, computer forensics and robotics.

The new scholars will come from all levels of academic programs in computer science, information systems and cybersecurity at the bachelor’s, master's, and doctoral levels, and recruit from our community college partners, including the State University of New York -- Westchester Community College.

“We are grateful for all of the hard-work and dedication of Professor Li-Chiou Chen,” said Dr. Jonathan Hill, Dean of the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems at Pace University. “As a true innovator in the field, she is helping to ensure that we effectively train and educate a new generation of cyber leaders.”

Alexa Piccolli, Pace CyberCorps alumnus who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Pace, noted that this scholarship program in particular was an incredible experience that opened doors to the U.S. Navy (NAVAIR) and IBM.

“It led me to a career in cybersecurity and afforded me many wonderful opportunities,” said Piccolli. “I got to work with leading technology at NAVAIR and now, as a program manager for Vulnerability Management at IBM. The skies the limit. I am so thankful to Pace University for this program.”

Pace University’s program has produced cybersecurity professionals working at various level of the government. Its program uniquely consists of five cyber pathways ranging from an associate degree to a doctorate degree.

For Pace alumnus Michael Corcione ’92, a seasoned cybersecurity executive who is a partner at a leading global consultancy firm, HKA, it is imperative that government and academia continue to join forces on cybersecurity education and workforce development.

“The U.S. Government and U.S. companies are under constant attack by cyber-criminal organizations, both private and state-sponsored,” he said. “One of the biggest challenges defending against these attacks is training enough people with the right skills and experience. The CyberCorp Scholarship for Service program is an optimal platform for the U.S. Government to build our defenses against these adversaries, as it maximizes the diverse student talent and resources of universities such as Pace and elevates the standard of cybersecurity education that will bolster the safety of our economy and society.”

About Pace University

Pace University has a proud history of preparing its diverse student body for a lifetime of professional success as a result of its unique program that combines rigorous academics and real-world experiences. Pace is ranked the #1 private, four-year college in the nation for upward economic mobility by Harvard University’s Opportunity Insights, evidence of the transformative education the University provides. From its beginnings as an accounting school in 1906, Pace has grown to three campuses, enrolling 13,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in more than 150 majors and programs, across a range of disciplines: arts, sciences, business, health care, technology, law, education, and more. The university also has one of the most competitive performing arts programs in the country. Pace has a signature, newly renovated campus in New York City, located in the heart of vibrant Lower Manhattan, next to Wall Street and City Hall, and two campuses in Westchester County, New York: a 200-acre picturesque Pleasantville Campus and the Elisabeth Haub School of Law in White Plains. Follow us on Twitter or on the Pace News website.

About the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems at Pace University

At Pace University’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems, students experience a best-of-breed technology education at one of the first comprehensive schools of computing in the nation. Strategically located in the heart of NYC’s tech scene, the Seidenberg School places students on the doorstep of New York’s most promising companies, whether they are established tech giants or exciting new start-ups. Through partnerships with leading corporations, banks, federal agencies, and global entities, the School's curricula and programs are designed to give students the latest in computer science theory and invaluable hands-on practice to ground it. The faculty includes numerous cybersecurity experts who operate labs and centers providing students with practical experience and connections that lead to impressive internships and jobs.

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