Waleed Farag, director of the Institute for Cybersecurity and current PI of several major federally funded grants, visited the Homer-Center Junior/Senior High School on January 27, 2023, to share information about IUP’s cybersecurity education efforts, including current grant information and opportunities for scholarships.

While meeting with mostly high school seniors, Farag explained the benefits of a career in cybersecurity, including a higher-than-average job satisfaction rate and a median annual salary of over $100,000. Students were also given information on the DoD Cyber Scholarship Program, which offers full tuition and generous stipends to accepted applicants.

Additionally, students were encouraged to explore the opportunities available in research and hands-on activities through other various grants secured by Farag. The PC4A project, a multi-year, multi-million-dollar grant funded by the US Department of Defense, has the goal of increasing the DoD cybersecurity workforce. Community college partners of the PC4A project are offering scholarships, boot camps, hands-on virtual labs, and exam vouchers to qualifying students in their programs. 

The IUP GenCyber Summer Camp is another highly regarded project with the goal of increasing cybersecurity skills in middle and high school students. IUP is the only school in Pennsylvania that offers the GenCyber Summer Student Camp and has received funding for this project eight years in a row. Students at Homer-Center Junior/Senior High School were encouraged to apply for the upcoming summer 2023 program.

For students who are already considering a career in cybersecurity, Farag highlighted IUP’s designation as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense, a designation from the NSA that IUP has held since 2002. In IUP’s most recent renewal, the NSA described their application as “the best they have ever seen.”

All cybersecurity activities, events, grants, and research can be found on the IUP Institute for Cybersecurity website.