Scholarship for Service (SFS) Federal CyberCorps

Executive Summary – Overview
The Scholarship for Service (SFS) is a yearly awarded, National Science Foundation sponsored scholarship program to promote the education, recruitment, and retention of rising junior and senior undergraduates and graduate students in cybersecurity studies with the goal of producing qualified federal cybersecurity professionals. UMBC’s SFS program encompasses funding both for student scholarships and assorted cybersecurity research activities. The present median GPA for UMBC’s SFS scholars is 3.8.

Technical Challenge/Activities
SFS scholars are expected to conduct cybersecurity-related research within their respective programs of study and within the CSEE Cyber Defense Lab. Additionally, each year, all SFS scholars at UMBC engage in a collaborative applied research study with UMBC’s IT department that analyzes the security of actual UMBC computing systems. CAE-2Y students in the UMBC SFS cohort also help solve IT security problems for their county government through a special applied research course before transferring to UMBC to complete their undergraduate degrees. In 2021, UMBC’s SFS cohort is nearing completion of a three-year multi-methods study (and paper) examining the role of Shadow IT within higher education; this project is believed to be the first in-depth research effort within the higher ed environment.

Potential Impact
Since 2012, UMBC has graduated over 30 SFS scholars, which aligns with the SFS goal of increasing the number of qualified government cybersecurity professionals. SFS-funded research at UMBC also included the Innovations in Cybersecurity Education Workshops (ICEW) series (2014-16), ongoing development of the Cybersecurity Assessment Tools (CATS) program, establishing a protocol analysis lab, and more. In a pioneering initiative begun in 2016, UMBC extended SFS scholarships to students at two nearby CAE-2Y community colleges (Montgomery College and Prince George’s Community College) to develop a regional cybersecurity educational pipeline.

In August 2012, CSEE professors Dr. Alan Sherman (PI) and Dr. Rick Forno (Co-PI) received an NSF grant of $2.5 million over five years to fund over 22 SFS students and related research. In 2018, Drs. Sherman and Forno received nearly $5 million for a 5-year renewal to continue growing UMBC’s SFS program enrollment, support research, and strengthen UMBC’s SFS-based matriculation agreements with Prince Georges Community College (Casey O’Brien, CoPI) and Montgomery College (Joe Roundy, CoPI).