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Information Security and Intelligence Receives $150,000 National Security Agency, Department of Defense Grant

PhotoFunding to support students taking part in cyber competitions sponsored by Ferris State University’s Information and Security Intelligence program has been received from the National Security Agency and the U.S. Department of Defense. The $150,000 award will also allow the department to support faculty training in Artificial Intelligence and develop training for law enforcement professionals, given a sharp rise in social media threats against medical professionals and government officials.

The Information Security and Intelligence program in Ferris State University’s College of Business has more support from the National Security Agency and the U.S. Department of Defense, courtesy of a recently approved $150,000 grant.

This latest award brings total funding from the government agencies to more than $850,000.

“It will assist our development of cybersecurity curriculum content, which will be shared with community colleges and high schools,” said Greg Gogolin, program coordinator and professor of Cybersecurity and Data Science. “Through collaboration with the university’s Spanish department, we hope to produce podcasts in that language to tell how cybercrime is a global issue, and the ISI program can be a student’s opportunity to join the professionals learning to detect and defeat the hackers in real-time.”

Gogolin said the plan is to offer the content to instructors working to create a curriculum in space, along with modules designed as training resources for law enforcement professionals.

“We want to build up the investigative abilities so that threats against public officials that propagate on social media can be limited and addressed,” Gogolin said. “The authorities face an incredible number of death threats, toward those in health care and government, from the school board trustee to elected officials and those in the judicial ranks.”

Another element of ISI instruction supported by the grant is training for department faculty. Molly Cooper, an associate professor, and other Artificial Intelligence instructors are learning from peers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Texas, according to Gogolin. He added that the goal is to build their capabilities as instructors in this new Ferris Bachelor of Science curriculum.

“Molly has something of a stealth career as a voiceover professional, which we will put to use in our podcasting, along with her significant contributions as a member of our AI faculty,” Gogolin said. “We are very glad to have this assistance gained from the NSA/DoD in their annual grant cycle.”

The ISI program will further bolster its informational base for high school and college students who take part in cyber competitions, currently offered in their center in the College of Business building and in time through new facilities in the Center for Virtual Learning.

“We hope to give cyber competitors greater acclimation as to what to expect so that they can get the most out of their event,” Gogolin said. “We intend to have those podcasts and materials available to them in the next year.”

ISI is the only ABET Accredited cybersecurity program in Michigan. Additionally, the program has been designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense by the National Security Agency and a Center of Digital Forensics Academic Excellence by the Department of Defense. The Ferris ISI program is an Amazon Web Services Academy, Cellebrite Forensic Academy, EC-Council Accredited Training Center, Palo Alto Networks Academic Partner, CompTIA Academy Partner, and Pearson Vue Testing Center. High schools interested in participating in the university’s ISI cyber competitions can find more information on the department’s web page.