NSU receiving $1M from Google to launch Cybersecurity Clinic – Muskogee Daily Phoenix

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Northeastern State University has been selected to receive $1 million in grant funding and wraparound support from Google’s Cybersecurity Clinics Fund to establish the NSU Cybersecurity Clinic.

The funding from Google.org, the company’s philanthropic arm, is part of a $25 million collaboration with the Consortium of Cybersecurity Clinics.

Cybersecurity clinics at higher education institutions provide free digital security services to under-resourced organizations, similar to how law or medical schools offer free community clinics. The new NSU Cybersecurity Clinic will give NSU students the opportunity to learn cybersecurity and artificial intelligence skills in an effective, hands-on manner while simultaneously helping to protect vulnerable organizations and critical infrastructure, such as local small businesses, hospitals, schools, and energy grids, from cyber attacks.

According to the World Economic Forum’s 2024 Global Risks Report, cyber insecurity remains one of the top 10 global risks over the next 10 years. Currently, there are nearly 450,000 open cybersecurity jobs available in the U.S, including 4,191 in Oklahoma, and demand for cyber professionals is projected to grow 32% by 2033. To ensure that communities, critical infrastructure and businesses big and small across the U.S. are secure, people need a skilled, diverse and AI savvy cybersecurity workforce.

“With this generous grant from Google, Northeastern State University can further power one of Oklahoma’s Top 100 critical occupations with workforce-ready cybersecurity professionals,” NSU President Rodney Hanley said. “This grant not only provides essential immersive learning opportunities for our students, but much-needed digital security for those within our communities and state.”

For Stacey White, NSU assistant professor of criminal justice and coordinator for the cybersecurity program, the new clinic is a hands-on expression of the university’s values of our people, place, and purpose.

“Our mission at the NSU Cybersecurity Clinic is to strengthen our commitment to providing quality support to students,” White said. “The funding will allow us to assist cybersecurity students in obtaining not only degrees, but certifications and immersive experiences that will enhance their marketability. We need their expertise to protect the privacy of our community’s data, prevent identity theft and ensure smooth operations of essential services.”

Over the coming year, NSU will work to modify its program infrastructure and install labs on both the Tahlequah and Broken Arrow campuses with plans to launch its in-field operations in the fall of 2025.

“The world is in a moment where emerging technologies, like AI, are creating both new opportunities and threats in the world of cybersecurity,” said Heather Adkins, vice president of security engineering at Google. “It’s essential that we invest in growing a strong, diverse and widespread cybersecurity workforce to help protect everyone — from critical infrastructure to small businesses and schools. The 15 clinics that we’re helping to establish serve a wide variety of students across all corners of the U.S. and we’re excited to see the impact they’ll have in their local communities.”

“Google’s transformative investment is catalyzing cybersecurity for the public good,” said Ann Cleaveland, co-founder and co-chair of the Consortium of Cybersecurity Clinics and Executive director of the UC Berkeley Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity. “We congratulate the recipients and applaud these awards, which propel forward the vision of the Consortium to establish a cybersecurity clinic in every U.S. state by 2030.”

NSU is one of 15 new clinics set to launch in 2024 at higher education institutions across the country, thanks to a collaboration from Google and the Consortium of Cybersecurity Clinics. In addition to $1 million in Google.org funding, the tech company is offering NSU volunteer mentorship from Google employees, Google Titan Security Keys, and scholarships for the Google Career Certificate in Cybersecurity. For more information, go to Google’s blog and the Consortium’s website.

The announcement builds on Google’s 2023 support for 10 clinics, part of a combined commitment to launch 25 Google-supported cyber clinics nationwide by 2025. With the latest round of funding, Google.org has now committed more than $25 million toward creating the diverse and AI- and digital-security savvy workforce needed to protect critical U.S. infrastructure from cyber attacks.

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