UCSC selected to join US CYBERCOM Academic Engagement Network

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U.S. Army Gen. Paul M. Nakasone, commander of CYBERCOM, hosted a virtual virtual welcome session on Feb 10 for students, facul

U.S. Army Gen. Paul M. Nakasone, commander of CYBERCOM, hosted a virtual virtual welcome session on Feb 10 for students, faculty and staff selected to participate in the new Academic Engagement Network.

ecerf@ucsc.edu (Emily Cerf)

University of California, Santa Cruz will join the inaugural class of the U.S. Cyber Command’s (CYBERCOM) Academic Engagement Network (AEN), a group of 84 colleges and universities selected to help strengthen the country’s cybersecurity operations. This partnership supports UCSC Baskin Engineering’s growing cybersecurity programs and will provide access to information and resources for students and faculty.

The new group of academic institutions aims to advance cybersecurity in working toward four main goals: engaging the future workforce, increasing applied research and innovation, expanding cyber-focused analytics partnerships, and enriching strategic cyber dialogue between academia and the U.S.'s cybersecurity operations.

“Being an inaugural US Cyber Command Academic Engagement Network member is a privilege that shows the growing recognition of cybersecurity research and education at the university,” said Alvaro Cardenas, associate professor of computer science and engineering, whose Cyber-Physical Security Lab researches topics like risk assessment and privacy. “In the past years, we have expanded the number of faculty with security expertise, introduced classes on new topics such as Cyber-Physical Systems Security and Privacy-Preserving Computation, and our students are becoming more engaged in cybersecurity competitions.”

Through the partnership, students from the Baskin Engineering Computer Science and Engineering Department will work more closely with CYBERCOM and the U.S. Department of Defense. They will gain free registration to participate in security competitions and cyber skills bootcamps and can access lectures and resources on cyberspace topics that could advance research.

“Academic institutions like ours are valued partners in providing a trustworthy infrastructure,” said Alexander Wolf, dean of the Baskin School of Engineering. “Selection to join the AEN will provide highly relevant experiential learning opportunities and help prepare students for successful careers in cybersecurity.”

This announcement comes after students from Baskin Engineering’s growing cybersecurity programs placed second in the U.S. Department of Energy's Cybersecurity Competition and ninth in the National Security Administration's 2021 Codebreaker Challenge. 

For more information about the USCYBERCOM Academic Engagement Network and its partners, visit the AEN website.