Cybersecurity Scholarships for UMBC students

Applications sought for major UMBC cybersecurity scholarships

NSF CyberCorps: Scholarship For Service (SFS)

Scholarships for careers in cybersecurity. Earn full tuition, fees, stipends ($22,500 – $34,000), and more ($2000 books, up to $3000 health benefits, $4000 professional expenses).  For BS, MS, MPS, or PhD in CS, CE, IS, Cyber or related fields. USA citizenship or permanent residency required. Contact Dr. Alan Sherman,  who will send you an application.

In academic year 2017-2018, UMBC will support a total of about six additional SFS Scholars at the BS, MS, MPS, and PhD levels in CS and related fields. Each scholarship is potentially for up to the final two years (three years for PhD and combined BS/MS). Interested full-time degree students should contact  and visit the CISA scholarship page.

Each scholarship covers full tuition, fees, travel, books, and academic year stipend of $34,000 for MS/MPS/PhD, and $22,500 for BS. Applicants must be US citizens or permanent residents capable of obtaining a SECRET or TOP SECRET clearance. Each scholar must work for the federal, state, local, or tribal government (for pay) for one year for each year of award.

Awards made for 2017-2018 will be for one year only, with the potential of renewal if funding permits (we should know by August 31, 2017).  The number of awards to be made will be determined by available funds, since there are differences in costs depending on level and in-state status (we have approximately $352,000 to award in 2017-2018).

All applications must be submitted in paper form with official transcripts and signed original letters on letterhead—no staples, folders, or binders.

Application Deadline: 12noon, Friday, July 14, 2017.   If positions remain open after the deadline, we will continue to accept applications until classes start.

See  and for more details.

ABC features UMBC cybersecurity student scholars

Students at UMBC are learning how to hack into systems and prevent attacks. They study hardwarre, software and the tools in between.


Jamie Costello from ABC’s Baltimore affiliate WMAR has a short video feature, UMBC is on a mission to crack the code, on UMBC students who are studying and doing research on the cybersecurity of computing hardware, software and systems.

If you walk through your door and notice your home computer in pieces scattered throughout the house, call UMBC.

In the old days, parents wanted their children to grow up to become doctors and lawyers, now its about becoming cyber security experts.

A select group of students at UMBC knew this was for them. Some tore computers apart. Some knocked XBOX players off their game on purpose. And one student, while in high school and with the school’s blessing, hacked into the school’s security camera system.

Jobs are like gnats on a summer night, college graduates are swatting the offers away. And the pay is good, really good.

Students are learning how to hack into systems and then prevent such attacks. They are studying hardware, software and tools in between. The more we invent and tie into the internet, the more cyber security experts are needed.

Natacha Ngea ’17, B.S. in Computer Engineering, recognized by UMBC

Natacha Ngea, future software engineer, reflects on the impact of mentorship

Natacha Ngea
B.S., Computer Engineering
Hometown: Yaounde, Cameroon
Plans: Software engineer, Harris Corporation

I have had multiple mentors and coaches at UMBC. Their support and feedback have been invaluable in succeeding and building my brand, and to find my voice.

Natacha Ngea (back row, fourth from right) at the Grace Hopper Conference in 2015; photo courtesy of CWIT.

When Natacha Ngea transferred to UMBC from Howard Community College, she knew that she wanted to pursue a degree in computer engineering and she hit the ground running. She became involved with the Center for Women in Technology (CWIT) as T-SITE Scholar. She also received a Returning Women Student Scholarship through UMBC’s Women’s Center, as well as a First Generation scholarship through the McNair Scholars Program, and Society of Women Engineers scholarship.

Ngea particularly credits relationships she developed through CWIT, the Women’s Center, and the Division of Information Technology, as an intern, for helping her access networking opportunities and resources that supported her success.

Ngea pursued a number of exceptional experiences during her time at UMBC. She earned a scholarship to attend the Grace Hopper Conference for Women in Computing, which inspired her to persevere through the challenges of completing her degree as one of few returning women students of color in a computing field. Through attending the conference, she secured an opportunity to intern at IBM in summer 2016.

After taking a course with Tammy Henderson, lecturer of Africana Studies, Ngea was inspired to become a mentor to fellow UMBC students, sharing knowledge gleaned from conferences and workshops, including the National Society of Black Engineers Convention. She also enjoyed working directly with low-income high school students, helping them to prepare for the SATs, and connected with fellow students through the Catholic Retrievers, Jubilee Choir, and Gospel Choir.

Adapted from an article on UMBC News. Portrait by Marlayna Demond ‘11 for UMBC.

Matthew Landen ’17, B.S. in Computer Science & Mathematics, recognized by UMBC

Matthew Landen, peer mentor, pursues security-focused computer science Ph.D.

UMBC’s class of 2017 is graduating this week and UMBC News has provides that highlight examples of the very capable and accomplished new graduates. Matthew Landen, who received a B.S. in both Computer Science and Mathematics, is one of them.

Matthew Landen
B.S., Computer Science and Mathematics
Summa Cum Laude
Hometown: Ellicott City, Maryland
Plans: Ph.D., Georgia Tech

UMBC has taught me the value of and need for collaboration. The world is currently faced with complex problems which cannot be solved by one individual.

Matthew Landen (front row, far right) after a performance with UMBC’s Musical Theatre Club; photo courtesy of Landen.

In his time at UMBC, Meyerhoff Scholar Matthew Landen has excelled in the classroom, the lab, the theatre, and the boardroom.

Landen has pursued several research opportunities, presenting at Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement Day and, most recently, working in the Multi-Agent Planning & Learning (MAPLE) lab led by Marie desJardins, associate dean of the College of Engineering and Information Technology and professor of computer science and electrical engineering. There he was particularly known for helping his peers understand complex concepts.

Landen also worked with students as a teaching fellow for Computing 101, and regularly volunteered to hold extra study sessions for students to support their success. In fall 2016, he became the head teaching fellow for the course, and worked closely with Stacy Branham, lecturer of information systems, to lead class activities, grade assignments, and answer students’ questions.

Landen’s exceptional work led to his induction into the Phi Kappa Phi honors society, and he recently received a highly prestigious and competitive graduate research fellowship from the National Science Foundation.

Beyond excelling as a student, peer mentor, and researcher, Landen has been actively involved in UMBC’s Musical Theatre Club for each fall showcase performance and each spring musical during his four years on campus. He has also served as webmaster for UMBC’s Student Government Association, collaborating with fellow computing students to design websites to help SGA stay organized, transparent, and effective as the primary governance body for UMBC undergraduates.

Landen will pursue his Ph.D. in computer science at Georgia Tech, with a focus on intelligent security systems.

Adapted from an article on UMBC News. Portrait by Marlayna Demond ‘11 for UMBC.

CyberCorps SFS students to meet at UMBC, Friday May 26

CyberCorps SFS Spring Meeting at UMBC

9am-1pm, Friday, 26 May 26 2017, ITE 456, UMBC
open to the public

Six CyberCorps Scholarship for Service (SFS) students from Montgomery College and Prince George’s Community College will present their results solving IT security problems for their county governments. In spring 2017, these students worked collaboratively in a special applied research course at their school to help their county government. In fall 2017, these students will transfer to UMBC to complete their four-year degrees. This activity is part of a pioneering program centered at UMBC to extend SFS scholarships to community college students.

This summer, these students will join forces with SFS scholars at UMBC to work collaboratively on an applied research problem involving analysis of a policy and set of scripts that enable machine owners at UMBC to lower the UMBC firewall on their machines.

09:00  light refreshments
09:30  Introduction, Alan T. Sherman, UMBC
09:35  Report from Montgomery College, Joe Roundy and students
10:40  Report from Prince George’s Community College, Casey W. O’Brien and students
11:45  Introducing the summer research study problem, Jack Suess and Damian Doyle, UMBC Division of Information Technology
12:00  lunch and informal discussions
13:00  adjourn

CyberCorps: Scholarship For Service (SFS) is a unique program designed to increase and strengthen the cadre of federal information assurance professionals that protect the government’s critical information infrastructure. This program provides scholarships that may fully fund the typical costs incurred by full-time students while attending a participating institution, including tuition and education and related fees. Additionally, participants receive stipends of $22,500 for undergraduate students and $34,000 for graduate students. The scholarships are funded through grants awarded by the National Science Foundation.

Host: Alan T. Sherman () is a professor of computer science and Director of the UMBC Center for Information Security and Assurance (CISA), which center is responsible for UMBC’s designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education and Cyber Defense Research.

Joe Roundy is the Cybersecurity Program Manager at Montgomery College, Germantown.

Casey W. O’Brien is Executive Director and Principal Investigator of the National CyberWatch Center, Prince George’s Community College.

Support for this event is provided in part by the National Science Foundation under SFS Grant 1241576.

Virtual Reality Design for Science student projects, 12-1:30 Wed. 5/10, ITE 201b


Everyone is invited to see presentations and demonstrations of  six class projects done by the 17 students in CMSC 491/691, Virtual Reality Design for Science, taught by CSEE Professor Jian Chen this spring.  The demonstrations and presentations will take place 12:00-1:30pm Wednesday, 10 May 2017 in the π² Immersive Hybrid Reality Lab located in room 201b in the ITE building. Join us in this new adventure to explore ideas and foster interaction and interdisciplinary science. Pizza will be provided.

  • Utilizing VR simulations to study the effect of food labeling on college students meal choices, by Elsie, Kristina, and Michael
  • Integrating spatial-and-non-spatial approaches for interactive quantum physics data analyses, by Henan, John, and Nick
  • Analyzing the benefits of immersion for environmental research, by Caroline, James, and Peter
  • CPR training effectiveness, by Joey, Justin, and Zach
  • Quantitative measurement of cosmological pollution visualization, by Kyle, Pratik, and Vineet
  • Memorable mobile-VR-based campus tour, by Abhinav and Vincent

Support for this new course was provided by an award from the UMBC Hrabowski Fund for Innovation to CSEE Professors Jian Chen, Marc Olano and Adam Bargteil.  The project-oriented class introduces students to the use of hybrid reality displays, 3D modeling, visualization and fabrication to conduct and analyze scientific research. The new course embraces the university’s goal of advancing interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research activity.

The UMBC π² Immersive Hybrid Reality Lab is funded by a $360,000 NSF award, with additional support from Next Century Corporation. In the lab, users wear 3D glasses with sensors attached to them and operate handheld controls that allow them to sensorially immerse themselves in data, which appears on dozens of high-resolution screens that are precisely aligned to work together. Users control the data by manipulating it in the space around them. The user’s body is fairly stationary, but the brain thinks the body is moving within the virtual world. The lab brings together tools “that will allow humans and the computer to augment each other,” notes Dr. Chen.

UMBC CyberDawgs win 2017 National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition

The UMBC CyberDawgs team receiving the first place trophy at the 2017 National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition finals event. Pictured from left to right: Bryan Vanek, Jacob Rust, Anh Ho, Professor Charles Nicholas, Christian Beam, Justin Wright, Chris Gardner, Seamus Burke and Zack Orndorff

The UMBC CyberDawgs team took first place at the finals of the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (NCCDC).  The CyberDawgs had won the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition earlier in the spring, earning the team an invitation to compete in the final ten national championship match held April 13-15 at the University of Texas, San Antonio.  This is UMBC’s second trip to the NCCDC finals – two years ago in their first visit the CyberDawgs came in fourth.

The National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition has been held annually since 2005 and focuses on the operational aspect of managing and protecting an existing network infrastructure. Teams are scored on their ability to detect and respond to outside threats, maintain availability of existing services such as mail servers and web servers, respond to business requests such as the addition or removal of additional services, and balance security needs against business needs.

This year more than 230 schools participated at the state and regional level with winners of the ten regional competitions faceing off in San Antonio. In addition to UMBC, this year’s finalists included teams from the University of Tulsa (2nd Place), Brigham Young University (3rd place), DePaul University, the University of Washington, California State University Northridge, Rochester Institute of Technology, Montana Tech, University of South Alabama, and University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

The CyberDawgs is a group of UMBC students who share a common interest in computer and network security.  The group is advised by UMBC faculty Charles Nicholas and Richard Forno. See the CyberDawgs Web site for information on their activities and how to get involved.

Congratulations to the UMBC CyberDawgs!!!

UMBC Cyberdawgs compete in 2017 Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition finals

The UMBC CyberDawgs are at the University of Texas, San Antonio competing in the national two-day finals event for the Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC) that takes place April 13-14. The CybrDawgs took first place in the Mid-Atlantic regional finals two weeks ago which qualified them for the finals this week. This is UMBC’s second trip to the CCDC national finals – two years ago in their first visit the CyberDawgs came in fourth.

The CyberDawgs is a group of UMBC students who share a common interest in computer and network security.  The group is advised by UMBC faculty Charles Nicholas and Richard Forno. See the CyberDawgs Web site for information on their activities and how to get involved.

Good luck to the CyberDawgs!!!

UMBC Grand Challenge Scholars Program

UMBC Grand Challenge Scholars Program

Engaging students in problems that matter

Reviewing applications beginning April 1, 2017

Do you want to help solve important problems facing society? Would you like to join and be part of a vibrant interdisciplinary community? Do you want to be recognized by the National Academy of Engineering for your contributions? Apply to the GCSP program and become a Grand Challenge Scholar!  Open to all UMBC majors.

What are the NAE Grand Challenges?

Fourteen broad problems facing society in sustainability, health, security, and knowledge
Solutions will require interdisciplinary teams and years of sustained effort

What does a UMBC Grand Challenge Scholar do?

Design a personalized program
Explore a selected Grand Challenge through five program areas: research, interdisciplinarity, entrepreneurship, global perspectives and service
Receive formal designation as an NAE Grand Challenge Scholar at graduation

What are the program requirements?

Three one-credit GCSP seminars (GCSP 301, 302, 401)
GC-related experiences in the five program areas, such as coursework, study abroad, internships and mentored research

How and when do I apply?

Apply online at the GCSP website. Applications after April 1 are subject to program capacity
Submit your transcript, short essay answers, two references and optionally a letter of support
Designed for students completing their sophomore year, but all students may apply
✔ Contact GCSP Director Professor Marie desJardins at with any questions

Recruiting UMBC Students for the Grand Challenge Scholars Program , Fri. 2/17


UMBC undergraduates interested in the Grand Challenge Scholars Program are encouraged to attend a symposium and recruiting event at 1:00pm on Friday, February 17.

The Grand Challenge Scholars Program is a program for undergraduates in all majors who are interested in thinking about big problems facing society, and how to solve them from broad, multidisciplinary perspectives. Students select one of 14 Grand Challenges identified by the National Academy Engineering, and work within the cohort of Grand Challenge Scholars to identify and pursue experiences related to their Grand Challenge in five program areas: research, interdisciplinary, entrepreneurship, global, and service.

To launch the upcoming spring application period for UMBC students entering the program, there will be a Grand Challenge Symposium on February 17, 2017, from 1-2:30 pm on the 7th floor of the Library. The symposium will feature 14 UMBC faculty members who will give two minute “mini-talks” on their research as it relates to the 14 Grand Challenges. The event will also showcase some of the work of the current Grand Challenge Scholars, and we will offer light refreshments.

Students who are interested in applying to the Grand Challenge Scholars Program are especially encouraged to attend, as are faculty and staff who have an interest in any of the Grand Challenges or would simply like to learn more about the program. More information about the program is available on the UMBC Grand Challenge Scholars Program Web site and applications are due on April 1.

Course instructors or TAs can arrange for a program representative come to their class to share information about the program by contacting Prof. or .

Please RSVP for the event, follow the Grad Challenges MyUMBC group and contact if you have any questions or comments about the program.

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