In January 2015 a team of cybersecurity researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst
received a $4.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation to bring a CyberCorps
Scholarship for Service program to the campus, the first public university in New England to
receive such an award. The team, which brings together researchers from the College of
Information and Computer Science, the Department and Mathematics and Statistics, the
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and the Isenberg School of Management,
includes Professor Eric Sommers, who is a co-PI on the grant, and Professor Krista J Gile.
NSF’s CyberCorps program, in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security, supports
the educational and professional development of domestic students who will help the nation
address threats to national security including critical infrastructure such as utilities, water
treatment, military defense systems and refineries.
Upon graduating and completing the training, students will join, at full pay and benefits,
government agencies working in cybersecurity, such as the National Security Agency, the
Department of the Navy, the Department of Treasury, the FBI, and other agencies at the federal,
state, or local level. Any government service in cybersecurity fulfills the service requirement,
ranging from protecting the nation’s infrastructure from state-based hackers to joining a state
university as a researcher or educator in cybersecurity.
The UMass program, which will support a total of 28 students over the next five years, will
admit its first students in the fall 2016 semester. Students must be U.S. citizens or permanent
residents and can receive up to two years of support from the CyberCorps program. For each
year they accept aid, they will serve for a year in a federal, state or local government position
related to cybersecurity.
The Department of Mathematics and Statistics expects to receive one scholarship per year to
build up a cohort of students with expertise in both security (through coursework in computer
science) and expertise in mathematics and statistics (through coursework in number theory,
modern algebra, statistics, and other research fields represented by the department). Many
members of the department helped with the NSF site visit in December 2015. In addition to Gile
and Sommers, undergraduates Gabriel Andrade and Shelby Cox, graduate students Donagh Kim
and Dan Nichols, and Professors Farshid Hajir and Siman Wong participated in the site visit.
Moreover, Andrade, Kim, and Nichols presented posters on their research at a poster session
held during the site visit.
Additional information on this important grant and the CyberCorps Scholarship for Service
program is available at: