Continuation of University of Idaho Scholarship for Service Program
This project continues the successful NSF Scholarship for Service (SFS) program at the University of Idaho (University of Idaho). The University of Idaho SFS program started in 2001. The University of Idaho has been a NSA Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education (CAE/IAE) since 1999. It was most recently recertified as a CAE in 2005. The University of Idaho Computer Science Department faculty played the lead role in both the CAE distinction and the SFS funding.
The University of Idaho SFS program is somewhat unique in its diversification of degree programs that include Computer Science, Computer Engineering, and Accounting with an emphasis on forensics. By grouping students from all three disciplines into the same labs and seminars the University of Idaho SFS program provides a diversity and synergy that enables participants to appreciate the multifaceted aspects of IA, including perspectives from software, hardware, and auditing. In the past three semesters placement success for internships and full-time job offers has been 100%, indicating a maturation and stabilization of the University of Idaho SFS program. Of the 21 institutions involved in the NSF SFS program, the University of Idaho ranks fourth in terms of productivity and number of security clearances obtained.
Intellectual Merit: University of Idaho SFS scholars have hands-on laboratory experiences with a variety of network configurations including reconfigurable attack-defend scenarios, real-time embedded systems, and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems. Through these laboratories the IA scholars gain the knowledge and insights that enable them to design and implement more secure and survivable systems. Previous SFS funding to the University of Idaho has resulted in six journal articles, 10 Master's theses, and 20 conference papers. To date, 14 SFS scholars have coauthored professional publications.
Broader Impact: The broader impact of providing IA training to students in the SFS program is fourfold. First, both large complex IT systems and smaller real-time control systems used in the digital society would be better managed by experienced IA graduates in the event of accidental or deliberate damage. This enables more stable and dependable infrastructures. Second, by better educating our upcoming IA professionals we move closer to a new generation of secure networks and computer systems. By giving them hands-on experience with today's IA tools we can increase the chance that they will develop tomorrow's security technologies. Third, by having a mixture of Computer Science, Computer Engineering and Accounting scholars participating in the SFS program, scholars learn to appreciate the interconnectedness of computer networking, computer devices, audit logging and audit trails. Fourth, this interdisciplinary nature aids in attracting women and minorities to the University of Idaho, an EPSCOR school. The University of Idaho SFS policy of aggressively recruiting students from underrepresented populations (specifically women and minorities) has paid off such that their representation within the SFS participant pool (26%) is more than twice the percentage observed in the department and college.