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DSU professors fill niche with cyber training center

Academics, Admissions, Beacom College of Computer and Cyber Sciences

In every challenge lies an opportunity.

Dakota State University professors Dr. Wayne Pauli and Dr. Yong Wang saw the challenges presented by a skill set gap that exists with certain members of the cyber security workforce, individuals such as professors, post-doctoral students and researchers.

They also saw opportunity, a chance to help these industry professionals bridge that gap through the creation of a cyber training center (CTC).

“Due to the big cyber security gaps in the workforce, this program is very desirable,” said Wang. The center would prepare, nurture and grow the national scientific workforce in cyber security through a scalable, online training program. The CTC would also help resolve the cyber security skills gap challenge while working to secure the national defense.

The professors applied for a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to fund the center. On July 25, they were notified that the NSF awarded a grant of $479,658 for the North Central Region Cyber Training Center for cyber security at Dakota State University. The three-year award begins September 1, 2017.

“The special thing about this project,” Wang stated, “is that it focuses on advanced scientific cyber infrastructure. This will benefit researchers or faculty working in academia by helping them increase their cyber security skills and develop their expertise in these areas.” Specific training materials will include a variety of cyber security topics such as compliance or identity management. It will be free to participants.

CTC will also be convenient. “We will be using Amazon Web Service (AWS) to establish a hands-on lab,” Wang said, “so that will be very handy and give a lot of people accessibility.”

“Just think of the impact we can have online from a virtual standpoint,” Pauli said. “We’re going to positively impact the whole cyber security industry and give people an opportunity to learn.”

Dr. Mark Hawkes, dean of graduate studies and research at DSU, praised the two College of Computing professors for their innovation.

“This award definitely recognizes Pauli’s and Wang’s expertise in cyber security education and builds on DSU's growing reputation as a cyber operations education institution,” he said.