Moraine Valley Community College
Palos Hills, IL
- Provides students with real-world learning experiences in information assurance and network security through expanding and enhancing cybersecurity skills events and competitions.
- Builds a national infrastructure to deliver faculty workshops and establish mentoring programs for secondary teachers and postsecondary faculty.
- Operates national infrastructure models for skills and learning events based on the creation of scalable and affordable remote virtual laboratory environments.
CSSIA Instructs Cybersecurity Educators
Since 2004, CSSIA has instructed more than 2,000 teachers and college faculty in cybersecurity. Surveys show that 73% or 1,460 are already using or plan to use curricula and instructional materials provided at the professional development programs. In follow-up interviews, most of the educators reported that learning how to implement hands-on, complex laboratory exercises was the most valuable aspect of the workshops.
CSSIA Directly Impacts Students
CSSIA’s impact on student success has been extraordinary. Carlos Marquez, Jr., an information technology (IT) graduate from Moraine Valley Community College, is an example of a successful student. He explains, “As a high school graduate in 2005, I was accepted to many universities, but Moraine Valley’s Center for Systems Security and Information Assurance had the right staff and equipment. CSSIA gave me the opportunity to enhance my skills, have an internship, and participate in the [Collegiate] Cyber Defense Competition. If it was not for CSSIA, I would not be where I am today: employed by Secureworks, Inc.”
CCDCs Give Students Experience With Real-World Security Challenges
CSSIA operates the Midwest Collegiate Cyber Defense Competitions (CCDC) providing students with hands-on cybersecurity experiences. Since organizing the first Midwest competition in 2006, CSSIA has consistently held both state and regional competitions. In 2008, CSSIA formed the Competition Industry Advisory Board, which has increased industry participation and added more real-world workplace experiences to the competitions. Recently, the center created and now administers the CSSIA Virtualization Data Center (CVDC), a remote virtual laboratory environment to enhance the quality and quantity of competitions nationwide.
A total of 872 students participated in the competitions from 2006 to 2010. In post-competition surveys, 83% of the students indicated that the competitions were an accurate test of their technical and soft skills. The students also report that the competitions make them more certain that IT careers are right for them. More than 90% of the respondents plan to enter IT careers. Other career affirmation sometimes comes from the employers who volunteer at the competitions—employers have been known to invite participants to interview for jobs on the spot. More than 300 students are registered to participate in CSSIA’s competitions during 2011.
CSSIA has also sponsored 3 annual Cyber Defense and Disaster Recovery Conferences where more than 600 industry, government, and academic professionals have gathered to enhance the technical expertise of the cybersecurity workforce.