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UWF and NSA highlight partnership and best practices in cybersecurity education at RSA conference

The University of West Florida and National Security Agency recently highlighted best practices in cybersecurity education at the 2021 RSA Conference. Dr. Eman El-Sheikh, Associate Vice President at the UWF Center for Cybersecurity, discussed how the NSA and UWF Center for Cybersecurity are collaborating to advance cybersecurity education and training for our nation through innovative programs. More than 20,000 people across the globe registered for the premier security conference held May 17-20.El-Sheikh presented alongside Diane Janosek, Commandant, National Cryptologic School, NSA and Margaret Morton, Senior Manager, Mutual of America. The session highlighted replicable and scalable programs, lessons learned and partnerships from the NSA and UWF for creating the next generation of cyber warriors and a culture of cybersecurity.


“The National Security Agency was pleased to participate in RSA 2021, especially with the RSA’s theme of Resilience,” Janosek said. “Investing in the cyber workforce of the future is a must for cyber resiliency, especially with the increased volume and sophistication of cyber-attacks and high need for talent. NSA appreciates its innovative partnership with UWF to attract, educate and retain high caliber cyber talent for the nation.”

UWF is designated by the NSA as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-C). The University also serves as the National Centers of Academic Excellence Regional Hub for the Southeast. In the presentation, UWF and the NSA discussed initiatives for training the next generation of cybersecurity leaders. Most notably, the UWF Center for Cybersecurity is leading a coalition of 10 CAE-C designated institutions to establish a nationally scalable and sustainable cybersecurity workforce program to rapidly expand the number of qualified cybersecurity professionals. The NSA selected UWF to oversee the program, which is funded by a two-year, $6 million grant.

Over the next two years, the national workforce program aims to recruit, prepare and place over 1,600 transitioning military, first responders and veterans into cybersecurity work roles in our nation’s critical infrastructure sectors, including financial services, defense industrial base and energy sectors.

During the summer, UWF hosts GenCyber camps funded by the NSA and National Science Foundation to increase cybersecurity interest, knowledge and skills among K12 students and teachers. The UWF Center for Cybersecurity launched the Cybersecurity for All® Program to help organizations re-skill or up-skill personnel for evolving cybersecurity roles and help individuals launch or advance cybersecurity careers via a grant from the NSA. UWF also supports the NSA’s national Faculty Development initiative to address the critical shortage of qualified faculty in cybersecurity.

“It was an honor to present alongside Diane Janosek and Margaret Morton on best practices to prepare the next generation of cybersecurity leaders,” said El-Sheikh. “The National Security Agency provides the vision, leadership and support to advance cybersecurity education and training for our nation through multiple programs and we are grateful for our partnership and the opportunity to make a difference.”

For additional information on UWF’s cybersecurity initiatives and partnership with the NSA, please visit uwf.edu/cybersecurity.