NSA Grant Creates Student Scholarships and Faculty Training in Digital Forensics

A student sits at a computer with graphs and charts on the screen

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 23, 2021) — A National Security Agency grant is providing funding for scholarships for digital forensics students at UAlbany, as well for the creation of a new program to teach cybersecurity to faculty.

School of Business Professor Sanjay Goel received the grant – which totals $150,000 for scholarships and $150,000 for the faculty training program – as part of a larger, $3.35 million NSA grant for cybersecurity education and faculty development being administered by Colorado State University.

UAlbany students who enter the MS in Digital Forensics program in the Fall 2021 semester will be eligible to apply for one of the 30 scholarships of $5,000 each – nearly half the cost of the master’s program. As part of their studies, MS Digital Forensics students also earn the Graduate Certificate in Information Security. The first scholarships will be awarded in January 2022.

“Cybersecurity is now an integral part of strategic positioning of every organization,” said School of Business Dean Nilanjan Sen. “We are delighted that UAlbany’s School of Business has the opportunity to provide the necessary training for both industry professionals as well as our academic colleagues.”

As part of the grant program, the School will recruit at least six veterans for the program, and some of the scholarships will be targeted for vets and for people from underrepresented population groups.

“There is a huge unfulfilled demand for cybersecurity professionals, both for protecting our businesses and for national security,” Goel said. “The goal of our consortium is to attract the finest students to cybersecurity through the scholarship for our new one-year master’s program, and to train faculty in teaching specialized cybersecurity courses. Our aim is to increase the number of graduates ready for the complex jobs that need people specifically trained in cybersecurity.”

The faculty training program includes two courses for faculty new to the field of cybersecurity, and a series of workshops to cover teaching techniques and share class materials, including presentations, videos and assignments. Faculty training will begin this summer, Goel said, with courses focusing on two specific topics, cyber risk analysis and digital forensics. The courses will be offered again in the Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 semesters.

Overall, the program aims to train 60 faculty from universities across the country.