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CyRUP will display research from all six U.S. Senior Military Colleges

Cybersecurity majors started their keyboards, stacked their paragraphs, and built their arguments. All because the submission deadline for the inaugural Cybersecurity Research in Undergraduate Programs Conference is here.

The conference, created by Dr. Huw Read and, thus, aptly named with the very Vermont pun acronym CyRUP, will run April 6 to April 8 in Mack Hall and is a collaboration of the Defense Department Cyber Institute and Norwich’s Center for Cybersecurity and Forensics Education and Research, aka CyFer. (Read, a computer security and information assurance professor, directs CyFer.)

“This is a good ‘first chance’ for undergraduate students to go through the publication and review process.” Dr. Michael Battig, computer science professor and director of Norwich University’s School of Cybersecurity, Data Science and Computing

Students from all six U.S. Senior Military Colleges — Norwich University, the University of North Georgia, The Citadel, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech, and the Virginia Military Institute — are submitting papers, presentations, or posters related to cybersecurity research, said Norwich University’s Cyber Institute program Assistant Director Kelli Sutton-Bosley.

The conference will feature presentations by Norwich faculty and staff and keynote speeches by U.S. Cyber Command Executive Director Dave Frederick, National Science Foundation Lead Program Director Victor Piotrowski, and a Defense Department panel discussion.

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Dr. Huw Read, a Norwich University computer security and information assurance professor, and director of Cybersecurity and Forensics Education and Research, aka CyFer, created the Cybersecurity Research in Undergraduate Programs Conference. (Photo by Mark Collier/Norwich University.)

A two-year, $19.5 million Defense Department grant enabled the Cyber Institute, which aims to create a pipeline of qualified cyberprofessionals in critical work roles. Tech Crunch reports, citing data from research company Cybersecurity Ventures, that 3.5 million cybersecurity jobs are unfilled in the United States.

Norwich leads the way

As the Cyber Institute’s lead institution, Norwich University will execute $4 million over the two years, creating a program office to manage the development of a joint integrated program enabling the development of academic, experiential (internal/external), and educational infrastructure.

Under the Cyber Institute plan, the Senior Military Colleges spent the first year investing in programs building on the Cyber Leadership Development Program, strengthening cross-cultural competence, critical languages, national and international security, system analysis and exposing cybersystem vulnerabilities.

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Dr. Michael Battig, director of Norwich University’s School of Cybersecurity, Data Science and Computing, has some of his students write papers for the Cybersecurity Research in Undergraduate Programs Conference. (Photo by Mark Collier/Norwich University.)

Sutton-Bosley said CyRUP will show students cyberdefense’s research and teaching aspects. U.S. Cyber Command and the National Science Foundation representatives will attend the conference, she said, to review students’ research and discuss American cyberdefense developments. 

“Through CyRUP, representatives from major cybersecurity agencies will get a chance to see the caliber of student research each of the universities involved produce,” she wrote in an email.

Sutton-Bosley said Norwich hopes the CyRUP Conference will become an annual event shared by the Senior Military Colleges and will help draw prospective students to study cybersecurity at Norwich University.

Multiyear aspirations

A call for CyRUP Conference papers went out in early December, Sutton-Bosley said, and Norwich instructors have been encouraging students, especially those in the Cyber Leader Development Program, to apply. One senior-level course, taught by Dr. Michael Battig, is requiring a CyRUP research paper submission as coursework. 

“This is a good ‘first chance’ for undergraduate students to go through the publication and review process,” Battig, the director of Norwich University’s School of Cybersecurity, Data Science and Computing, wrote in an email. “This is also a chance for the (Senior Military College)s to lead in the cyber-research areas. This work is an extension of what it means to be a Center for Academic Excellence based on National Security Agency.”

The papers, which will be double-blind reviewed, will cover digital forensics and cyber applications of artificial intelligence; machine learning; information assurance; cyber operations; ethical hacking; cyber risk; policy and governance; wireless and network security, cyber-physical systems; and data analytics.

Jason Stanley, a senior computer science major in the Corps of Cadets, has been working on a software project to present at CyRUP, the creation of an artificial intelligence that analyzes map data and ranks subregions of that map, based on data point density, for better analysis by users.

“I'm going into the Air Force as a cyberofficer here in May, so, I want to really see what's on the cutting edge,” Stanley wrote in an email. “I can't say it was the initial motivation for joining the class, but it has transformed into a tremendous opportunity to meet a lot of like-minded and learn from some of the brightest from the other (Senior Military Colleges).”


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