Louisiana’s I-20 Cyber Corridor was on full display during the National Governors Association Cybersecurity Summit, held in May right here in northwest Louisiana. More than 400 leaders from government and industry across the nation gathered to talk about current threats against our cybersecurity, planning for responses when protective measures are compromised, and education and workforce development to ensure we’re ready for the next great threat.
We were proud to partner with Bossier Parish Community College, the Cyber Innovation Center, and GDIT to help shine a light on the importance of preparing current and future students to play a role in ensuring our citizens and companies are safe against cyber attacks.
In addition, we were able to host a panel discussion with other higher education leaders in the state focused on educational and economic development opportunities related to cyber security.
In north Louisiana, we have been able to create – through public and private partnerships – an environment focused on preparing students to become leaders in the industry. Louisiana Tech closed out the academic year with several milestones focused on cybersecurity.
Our College of Engineering and Science named seven new cyber scholars – including Bossier City native and computer science major Devon Knudsen – as a part of the CyberCorps SFS program. This program provides scholarships for up to three years of support for outstanding students who make a commitment to a career in cybersecurity. In return for the scholarships, recipients agree to work for the federal government after graduation in a position related to cybersecurity for a period equal to the length of the scholarship.
We continued to concentrate on cybersecurity with an annual event that pits teams of students against each other and a “black ops team of intruders” from academia, industry and government institutions. May 24, we hosted the Cyber Storm daylong hackfest competition. This event tests what upper-level students have learned through challenges to the computer networks that they have built throughout the year. Student teams completed challenges on cyber security, wireless networks, and steganography, and completed cyber scavenger hunts.
Finally, we celebrated the National Science Foundation fellowship awarded to recent graduate George Cazenavette, who majored in math, computer science, and cyber engineering at Tech. The triple major – who earned a 4.0 GPA here – will continue to innovate at Carnegie Mellon, where he will perform research in machine learning. His research could lead to new innovation in the tools that help create a more secure cyber environment.
As Louisiana Tech continues to collaborate with other companies and organizations to ensure our state remains a leader in preparing for cyber challenges and that our nation remains safe from bad actors in the virtual realm.
Dr. Les Guice is president of Louisiana Tech University.