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National Science Foundation awards $6.3 million grant to TU’s Cyber Corps

Posted at 10:22 PM, Sep 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-15 11:12:49-04

TULSA, Okla.  — The University of Tulsa's Cyber Corps Program recently received a significant boost in funding. The National Science Foundation awarded the program a $6.3 million grant.

Sujeet Shenoi, Ph.D. professor of Computer Science and Chemical Engineering at TU, said the grant will support 80 computer science and engineering graduate students studying to protect Cyberspace.

“Cyber security is really the new frontline of our society and so it’s really important to learn how it works, how we can defend it,” Jillian Empie said.

Empie is a first-year student at TU. She's among the 45 students who are part of TU's Cyber Corps Program. It offers students courses that highly specialize in Cyber Operations and Defense Programs.

They learn to exploit and secure cyberspace, hardware, software, networks, and radio frequency signals. The goal is to prepare them for real-world experiences.

“I hope to intern with honestly, any of the agencies, CIA, NSA, I think any of those opportunities would be amazing to be involved in," Empie said.

Jack Mancino is a freshman too. He joined the program because he knows the impact he can have in the field.

“Cyber security affects every person as an individual, and every organization, every group, every government," he said.

Just in his first semester, he's already learned how to tap into radio frequencies. He said soon he will learn to reverse engineer programs from their pioneer structures.

For him, this grant represents an opportunity to advance his level of education.

“I don’t know if I would have the money and the financial security to go and pursue a master's program, a Ph.D. program. That’s a lot of years in school and it can get very expensive if you’re seeking the highest-level education," Mancino said.

The money will also allow the university to buy equipment to elevate students' hands-on experience. Dr. Shenoi said the program has already fielded more than 400 students in its 22 years.

“My students are going to be joining the U.S. government and the U.S. government is targeted by every adversary and we need our best and brightest students,” Shenoi said.

Dr. Shenoi said this is the largest grant the University's Cyber Corps Program has received to date.


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