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UMD Joins U.S. Cyber Command’s Academic Engagement Network

By Melissa Brachfeld

The University of Maryland has joined 83 other academic institutions in a new initiative to bolster the nation’s cybersecurity education and workforce development.

The Academic Engagement Network—announced this month by the U.S. Defense Department’s Cyber Command (CYBERCOM)—supports and enhances the command’s efforts involving the U.S. cyber workforce, applied cyber research, applied analytics and other strategic priorities.

Involvement with the partnership is a perfect fit for UMD students and faculty interested in the latest tools and technologies involving digital security, said Michel Cukier, a professor of reliability engineering and director of the university’s Advanced Cybersecurity Experience for Students (ACES) living-learning program. Other cybersecurity resources at the university include the Maryland Cybersecurity Center (MC2) and the Scholarship for Service program within ACES.

“Being chosen to participate in this academic network is of great value and is certainly indicative of the University of Maryland’s exceptional strength in cybersecurity research and education,” he said.

The network consists of 69 universities, 13 community colleges, nine minority-serving institutions, four military service academies and four military war and staff colleges from 34 states and the District of Columbia. Its goal is to create a pool of qualified professionals to assist CYBERCOM’s mission of defending critical U.S. information networks, providing support to combatant commanders for execution of their missions around the world, and strengthening the nation’s ability to withstand and respond to cyberattacks.

As a member, UMD will gain access to CYBERCOM guest lecturers on cyberspace strategy, policy, law, innovation and workforce issues, as well as exclusive webinars on pressing technical and nontechnical issues in cybersecurity. CYBERCOM also plans to offer capstone mentorships beginning in the Fall 2022 semester, and will sponsor internships, fellowships and recruiting programs for network members.

Michelle Mazurek, an associate professor of computer science and the director of MC2, will work closely with Cukier to identify new research opportunities for Maryland students and faculty to explore.

“We’re excited to be selected as a charter member of this network,” she said. “It will allow us to make connections with CYBERCOM practitioners who are facing very difficult real-world security problems that can inform our research directions.”

Maryland Today is produced by the Office of Strategic Communications for the University of Maryland community weekdays during the academic year, except for university holidays.